Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A to Z : Z Poem - Raj Arumugam

It is the last day of the A to Z Challenge!  Thanks for sticking by me through my poetry adventures!  Tomorrow we go back to our regularly scheduled program-- and it is the day when all of us writer's ban together and reveal our innermost fears- The Insecure Writers Support Group!


Z Poem 
Written by Raj Arumugam
 
Z is useless
Like an appendix
It's not like English'd collapse
if you threw Z to the dogs
(you couldn't call it a sacrifice):
we'd still communicate
we'd still fornicate

it's like if your doctor cut
your appendix and threw it out
you'd still eat and shit

so, useless Z -
like many parts in the human enterprise
like your religion, your ideology, your prejudices:
it's there,
in the human system
but each a Z;
part of a strange assembly

Monday, April 29, 2013

A to Z : Yellow painted toe nails - Azia Archer

There are only 2 Days left of the A to Z Challenge.  Today I'm going to share a poem that I wrote last year, as it appeared in Haunted Waters Press.


Yellow painted toe nails
Written by Azia Archer

Yellow painted toe nails do not sit well on a canvas of pale feet.  The creamy white skin bleeding into the polish so that an unnatural fungal appearance prevails–reminding the owner that their feet are no longer where they once were; tanned, the shiny polished nails tucked into the sand innocently peaking out into the sunlight–giggling and well used.  The way a pair of feet should be.  Not now.  Now they’re cold, cracking, haphazardly folded into wool socks, sweating in loafers all day– tapping along side a desk.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A to Z : Xerox Candy Bar - Richard Brauitgan

 It's week 4 of the A to Z Challenge!  I'm still running with my poetry-theme.  Hope you enjoy!


Xerox Candy Bar
Written By Richard Brautigan

Ah,
you're just a copy
of all the candy bars
I've ever eaten.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A to Z : We Did Not Make Ourselves - Michael Dickman

 It's week 4 of the A to Z Challenge!  I'm still running with my poetry-theme.  Hope you enjoy!

*I have to say I'm REALLY excited to share this poem with you guys-- it's one of my absolute favorite of ALL time.*
 

 
We Did Not Make Ourselves
Written by Michael Dickman

We did not make ourselves is one thing
I keep singing into my hands
while falling
asleep

for just a second

before I have to get up and turn on all the lights in the house, one
             after the other, like opening
             an Advent calendar

My brain opening
the chemical miracles in my brain
switching on

I can hear

dogs barking
some trees
last stars

You think you'll be missed
It won't last long
I promise

I'm not dead but I am
standing very still
in the backyard
staring up at the maple
thirty years ago
a tiny kid waiting on the ground
alone in heaven
in the world
in white sneakers

I'm having a good time humming along to everything I can still
            remember back there

How we're born

Made to look up at everything we didn't make

We didn't
make grass, mosquitoes
or breast cancer

We didn't make yellow jackets

or sunlight

either

I didn't make my brain
but I'm helping
to finish it

Carefully stacking up everything I made next to everything I ruined
             in broad daylight in bright
             brainlight

This morning I killed a fly
and didn't lie down
next to the body
as we're supposed to

We're supposed to

Soon I'm going to wake up

Dogs
Trees
Stars

There is only this world and this world

What a relief
created

over and over

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A to Z : "V" - Matthew Dickman

 It's week 4 of the A to Z Challenge!  I'm still running with my poetry-theme.  Hope you enjoy!

 
"V"
Written by Matthew Dickman


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A to Z : Ulalume - Edgar Allen Poe

It's week 4 of the A to Z Challenge!  I'm still running with my poetry-theme.  Hope you enjoy!

 
Ulalume
Written by Edgar Allen Poe

The skies they were ashen and sober;
  The leaves they were crisped and sere—
  The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
  Of my most immemorial year;
It was hard by the dim lake of Auber,
  In the misty mid region of Weir—
It was down by the dank tarn of Auber,
  In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.

Here once, through an alley Titanic.
  Of cypress, I roamed with my Soul—
  Of cypress, with Psyche, my Soul.
These were days when my heart was volcanic
  As the scoriac rivers that roll—
  As the lavas that restlessly roll
Their sulphurous currents down Yaanek
  In the ultimate climes of the pole—
That groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek
  In the realms of the boreal pole.

Our talk had been serious and sober,
  But our thoughts they were palsied and sere—
  Our memories were treacherous and sere—
For we knew not the month was October,
And we marked not the night of the year—
  (Ah, night of all nights in the year!)
We noted not the dim lake of Auber—
  (Though once we had journeyed down here)—
Remembered not the dank tarn of Auber,
  Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.

And now as the night was senescent
  And star-dials pointed to morn—
  As the sun-dials hinted of morn—
At the end of our path a liquescent
  And nebulous lustre was born,
Out of which a miraculous crescent
  Arose with a duplicate horn—
Astarte’s bediamonded crescent
  Distinct with its duplicate horn.

And I said—”She is warmer than Dian:
  She rolls through an ether of sighs—
  She revels in a region of sighs:
She has seen that the tears are not dry on
  These cheeks, where the worm never dies,
And has come past the stars of the Lion
  To point us the path to the skies—
  To the Lethean peace of the skies—
Come up, in despite of the Lion,
  To shine on us with her bright eyes—
Come up through the lair of the Lion,
  With love in her luminous eyes.”

But Psyche, uplifting her finger,
  Said—”Sadly this star I mistrust—
  Her pallor I strangely mistrust:—
Oh, hasten!—oh, let us not linger!
  Oh, fly!—let us fly!—for we must.”
In terror she spoke, letting sink her
  Wings till they trailed in the dust—
In agony sobbed, letting sink her
  Plumes till they trailed in the dust—
  Till they sorrowfully trailed in the dust.

I replied—”This is nothing but dreaming:
  Let us on by this tremulous light!
  Let us bathe in this crystalline light!
Its Sibyllic splendor is beaming
  With Hope and in Beauty to-night:—
  See!—it flickers up the sky through the night!
Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming,
  And be sure it will lead us aright—
We safely may trust to a gleaming
  That cannot but guide us aright,
  Since it flickers up to Heaven through the night.”

Thus I pacified Psyche and kissed her,
  And tempted her out of her gloom—
  And conquered her scruples and gloom;
And we passed to the end of a vista,
  But were stopped by the door of a tomb—
  By the door of a legended tomb;
And I said—”What is written, sweet sister,
  On the door of this legended tomb?”
  She replied—”Ulalume—Ulalume—
  ’Tis the vault of thy lost Ulalume!”

Then my heart it grew ashen and sober
  As the leaves that were crisped and sere—
  As the leaves that were withering and sere;
And I cried—”It was surely October
  On this very night of last year
  That I journeyed—I journeyed down here—
  That I brought a dread burden down here!
  On this night of all nights in the year,
  Ah, what demon has tempted me here?
Well I know, now, this dim lake of Auber—
  This misty mid region of Weir—
Well I know, now, this dank tarn of Auber,—
  This ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.”

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A to Z : This Is Not A Personal Poem - Alex Dimitrov

It's week 4 of the A to Z Challenge!  I'm still running with my poetry-theme.  Hope you enjoy!

This Is Not A Personal Poem
Written by Alex Dimitrov

This is not a personal poem.
I don’t write about my life.
I don’t have a life.
I don’t have sex.
I have not experienced death.
Don’t take this personally but
I don’t have any feelings either.
The feelings I don’t have don’t run my life.
I have an imagination. I’m imagining it now.
This poem is concerned with language on a very plain level.
This poem stole that line from John Ashbery.
This poem wants you to like it,
please click “like.”
This poem was written during a recession.
I’m so politically conscious
the word “politics” is in my poem.
This is not a New York poem.
There’s not enough room for all the wars in this poem.
Gay marriage is now in this poem.
Have you liked this poem yet?
It was written in 2011 in New York and posted 11 minutes ago.
Would you sleep with the poet who wrote this poem?
Would you buy his book? Click here.
This poem loves language.
This poem has slept with other poems
written by poets who love language.
All poets love language.
Let’s talk about language while people die.
This poem cares a lot but wants you
to think that it doesn’t really care.
The speaker of this poem may have been
born in a former Communist country.
It may or may not matter.
I had an orgasm before writing this poem.
I have my sunglasses on while reading this poem.
Everyone is going to die
please don’t take it personally.
The world. The world.
The world is blood-hot and personal.
I stole that line from Sylvia Plath.
Put your money on this poem.
I love the money shot.
This is not a personal poem.
This poem is only about Alex Dimitrov.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A to Z : So You Want to Be a Writer? - Charles Bukowski

It's week 4 of the A to Z Challenge!  I'm still running with my poetry-theme.  Hope you enjoy!


So You Want to Be a Writer?
Written by Charles Bukowski


Saturday, April 20, 2013

A to Z : Rebound Poem - Gregory Sherl

It is week 3 of Arlee Bird's A to Z Challenge.  I will continue my theme of poetry by posting a poem a day.  Hope you come back and check them out! 



Rebound Poem (as appeared in kill author)
Written by Gregory Sherl

I fake break-up with K so I can rebound with myself. Alone, I fog every mirror with my fake kissing. I am never thinking about the weather’s attitude when I dress for the day, but I am always finding myself offended by the afternoon rain. This is how I feel when I wake up: all lightning like. K writes a novel in my veins. The first line goes You will never have to worry about the wind again. I can’t read the rest, she’s covered it with skin that matches my skin. I tell her Tell me how it ends and I’ll trade you my pudding snack for four Oreos. She goes into the other room and I can smell her smiling at me. Big books scare me so I only read novels that are 472 words long. I am writing a poem called “Rebound Poem” and it’s going to be really fantastic when I finish it.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A to Z : Quinquagesima - Justine Nicholas


It is week 3 of Arlee Bird's A to Z Challenge.  I will continue my theme of poetry by posting a poem a day.  Hope you come back and check them out!

 

Quinquagesima
Written by Justine Nicholas

                                            —To Toni Williams (1944-2004)

In another year, perhaps, we could recall
all those seasons we had chosen not to mourn
today.
         A single lily spreads, thrust from mud
where snow covered your blood. This is the way
spring would come, you said

                                      fifty days after

you left. Perhaps the cold will return once more
after the rain
                  after fifty days

                                      after you leave again.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

A to Z: Pull A String, A Puppet Moves - Charles Bukowski

 It is week 3 of Arlee Bird's A to Z Challenge.  I will continue my theme of poetry by posting a poem a day.  Hope you come back and check them out! 

 

Pull A String, A Puppet Moves
Written by Charles Bukowski
 
each man must realize
that it can all disappear very
quickly:
the cat, the woman, the job,
the front tire,
the bed, the walls, the
room; all our necessities
including love,
rest on foundations of sand -
and any given cause,
no matter how unrelated:
the death of a boy in Hong Kong
or a blizzard in Omaha ...
can serve as your undoing.
all your chinaware crashing to the
kitchen floor, your girl will enter
and you'll be standing, drunk,
in the center of it and she'll ask:
my god, what's the matter?
and you'll answer: I don't know,
I don't know ...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A to Z : Other People's Problems - Tyler Gobble

It is week 3 of Arlee Bird's A to Z Challenge.  I will continue my theme of poetry by posting a poem a day.  Hope you come back and check them out! 



Other People's Problems (as appeared on madswirl)
Written by Tyler Gobble 

I am down with OPP:
bring me your problems
people, I am here
for you, I am here.
Dead mother? yes
Cheating lover? yes
Public intoxication arrest?
yes yes yes. See, I am only
me when I am with you
telling me your problems.
These are the reasons why:
One, I think I love you.
Two, you have this power
over me, as a result
of my deep infatuation
with people like you: human beings.
They have this complicated ball
inside them, like a dust cloud
of nagging hope.
Three, I’ve never been good with
empty space.
Let me help you help me help you.
There is peace somewhere
between us. If we touch each other
I know we can find it.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A to Z : Nikki - Dante Basco

It is week 3 of Arlee Bird's A to Z Challenge.  I will continue my theme of poetry by posting a poem a day.  Hope you come back and check them out!  


Nikki 
Written by Dante Basco

Nikki : Dante Basco (Def Poetry Jam) from Moonroof Martinez on Vimeo.

Yes, that is Rufio.
 

Monday, April 15, 2013

A to Z : Mad Girls Love Song - Sylvia Plath

It is week 3 of Arlee Bird's A to Z Challenge.  I will continue my theme of poetry by posting a poem a day.  Hope you come back and check them out! 

 
Mad Girls Love Song
Written by Sylvia Plath

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan's men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you'd return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A to Z : Leisure, Hannah, Does Not Agree with You (2) - Hannah Gamble

  It is week two of Arlee Bird's 2013 A to Z Challenge!  For the challenge (and National Poetry Month) I have decided to post a poem for each letter of the alphabet!

 
Written  by Hannah Gamble 


After Catullus

My house disgusted me, so I slept in a tent.
My tent disgusted me, so I slept in the grass. The grass disgusted me,
so I slept in my body, which I strung like a hammock from two ropes.
My body disgusted me, so I carved myself out of it.
 
My use of knives disgusted me because it was an act of violence.
My weakness disgusted me because “Hannah” means “hammer.”
The meaning of my name disgusted me because I’d rather be known
as beautiful. My vanity disgusted me because I am a scholar.
 
My scholarship disgusted me because knowledge is empty.
My emptiness disgusted me because I wanted to be whole.
My wholeness would have disgusted me because to be whole
is to be smug. Still, I tried to understand wholeness
 
as the inclusiveness of all activities: I walked out into the yard,
trying to vomit and drink milk simultaneously. I tried to sleep
while smoking a cigar. I have enough regrets to crack all the plumbing.
I’m whole only in that I’ve built my person from every thought I’ve ever loved.

Friday, April 12, 2013

A to Z : Keen, Fitful Gusts Are Whisp'ring Here & There - John Keats

  It is week two of Arlee Bird's 2013 A to Z Challenge!  For the challenge (and National Poetry Month) I have decided to post a poem for each letter of the alphabet!
 

Keen, Fitful Gusts Are Whisp'ring Here & There
Written by John Keats

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A to Z : Just lost, when I was saved! - Emily Dickinson

 It is week two of Arlee Bird's 2013 A to Z Challenge!  For the challenge (and National Poetry Month) I have decided to post a poem for each letter of the alphabet! 





Just lost, when I was saved!
Written by Emily Dickinson
http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2011/10/20/black-white_photograph_of_emily_dickinson-2dc338ce429db346c4a7dc252b1cc90b081586a0-s6-c10.jpg
Just lost, when I was saved!
Just felt the world go by!
Just girt me for the onset with Eternity,
When breath blew back,
And on the other side
I heard recede the disappointed tide!

Therefore, as One returned, I feel
Odd secrets of the line to tell!
Some Sailor, skirting foreign shores—
Some pale Reporter, from the awful doors
Before the Seal!

Next time, to stay!
Next time, the things to see
By Ear unheard,
Unscrutinized by Eye—

Next time, to tarry,
While the Ages steal—
Slow tramp the Centuries,
And the Cycles wheel!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A to Z : i like my body - e.e. Cummings

 It is week two of Arlee Bird's 2013 A to Z Challenge!  For the challenge (and National Poetry Month) I have decided to post a poem for each letter of the alphabet!
i like my body
Written by e.e. Cummings

i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite a new thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which I will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh...And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill
of under me you quite so new

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A to Z : Heavy Petting in Cooper City, FL - Gregory Sherl

 It is week two of Arlee Bird's 2013 A to Z Challenge!  For the challenge (and National Poetry Month) I have decided to post a poem for each letter of the alphabet!


Heavy Petting in Cooper City, FL (as appeared in PANK Magazine)
Written by Gregory Sherl

We’re so young I still look out the window when you cry.
Still, this is how it starts: there is tongue kissing before baby
names. There is forgetting how to sleep alone before
baby names. Sometimes your thighs are too sweaty to hold
before baby names. Lately everything falls right out of me:
a wave having a seizure while someone tries to learn how to surf.
In this poem we are in bed because everyone can guess why.
We are in bed and I say Your tongue is the coldest tap. That is a lie.
You are so fucking warm. You are an electric blanket we keep next
to the icebox. In bed I say You are the equivalent of seven brownies.
You say Prove it. So this is what I do: I bake the sun up.
We forgot to draw the blinds, so I bake the sun back down.
It is pitch black, so I bake some lightning bugs and tie them
to my chest hair. While I bake, you go into the other room and send me
dirty text messages with descriptions of your back spread out like a speedway.
I have to go into the icebox to cool off. I don’t turn on the electric blanket.
My blood is milk, skim, thin enough to reach my toes. I have shivered
in my sleep since at least eight years before we met.
There is a timer, and then the timer is done being a timer. I am done baking.
I hold the seven brownies in my lap while you drive us to the doctor’s
office. The doctor checks your blood pressure, feels for lumps. Then he checks
the brownies for lumps. I was smooth with the icing, and the doctor
is pleased. He puts his stethoscope to the seven brownies, says
Big breath now. The brownies puff out their chests like muffins.
They sigh like long distance runners. The doctor takes off his latex gloves.
He says Equivalent, like it was a category on Jeopardy! He says
Homologous, synonymous, identical, tantamount, indistinguishable.
The doctor looks at me. He wants to know if the brownies
came from a box. I tell him I picked them from the garden,
that I was turned on by how soft the soil felt between my toes.
He says And her? pointing at you. I tell him I keep an Easy Bake
Oven between the sheets.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A to Z : Grief - Matthew Dickman

 It is week two of Arlee Bird's 2013 A to Z Challenge!  For the challenge (and National Poetry Month) I have decided to post a poem for each letter of the alphabet! 


Grief
Written by Matthew Dickman

Grief by Matthew Dickman from Portia Elan on Vimeo.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A to Z : Flying Inside You Own Body - Margaret Atwood

I am a participant in Arlee Bird's 2013 A to Z Challenge!  I am posting a poem for each letter of the alphabet.  Sometimes the poem will be prose, other times it might be an artistic rendition of the poem, or a reading by the poet... the possibilities are endless!  I hope you will be stopping by throughout the Month of April to check them out!


Flying Inside Your Own Body 
By Margaret Atwood

Your lungs fill & spread themselves,
wings of pink blood, and your bones
empty themselves and become hollow.
When you breathe in you’ll lift like a balloon
and your heart is light too & huge,
beating with pure joy, pure helium.
The sun’s white winds blow through you,
there’s nothing above you,
you see the earth now as an oval jewel,
radiant & seablue with love.
It’s only in dreams you can do this.
Waking, your heart is a shaken fist,
a fine dust clogs the air you breathe in;
the sun’s a hot copper weight pressing straight
down on the think pink rind of your skull.
It’s always the moment just before gunshot.
You try & try to rise but you cannot. 



I am obsessed with Margaret Atwood.
She is my favorite female writer of all time.
Oh, to get inside of her brain!
Wouldn't that be amazing?

Friday, April 5, 2013

A to Z : Eulalie by Edgar Allen Poe

I am a participant in Arlee Bird's 2013 A to Z Challenge!  I am posting a poem for each letter of the alphabet.  Sometimes the poem will be prose, other times it might be an artistic rendition of the poem, or a reading by the poet... the possibilities are endless!  I hope you will be stopping by throughout the Month of April to check them out!

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-s1V69AhUsiM/UTX2uDvrZ6I/AAAAAAAAJHI/bx0zarcL3yA/s1600/a-to-z-letters-e.jpg 
Eulalie
Written by Edgar Allen Poe

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A to Z : Digression On Number 1, 1948 by Frank O'Hara

I am a participant in Arlee Bird's 2013 A to Z Challenge!  I am posting a poem for each letter of the alphabet.  Sometimes the poem will be prose, other times it might be an artistic rendition of the poem, or a reading by the poet... the possibilities are endless!  I hope you will be stopping by throughout the Month of April to check them out!


Digression On Number 1, 1948
Written by Frank O'Hara

I am ill today but I am not
too ill. I am not ill at all.
It is a perfect day, warm
for winter, cold for fall.

A fine day for seeing. I see
ceramics, during lunch hour, by
Mir6, and I see the sea by Leger;
light, complicated Metzingers
and a rude awakening by Brauner,
a little table by Picasso, pink.

I am tired today but I am not
too tired. I am not tired at all.
There is the Pollock, white, harm
will not fall, his perfect hand

and the many short voyages. They'll
never fence the silver range.
Stars are out and there is sea
enough beneath the glistening earth
to bear me toward the future
which is not so dark. I see.



Jackson Pollock. Number 1A, 1948. 1948
This painting by Jackson Pollock inspired the poem!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A to Z : Color As Beginning - Richard Brautigan

I am a participant in Arlee Bird's 2013 A to Z Challenge!  I am posting a poem for each letter of the alphabet.  Sometimes the poem will be prose, other times it might be an artistic rendition of the poem, or a reading by the poet... the possibilities are endless!  I hope you will be stopping by throughout the Month of April to check them out!



Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A to Z : Becoming Domestic -Nicole Krauss

I am a participant in Arlee Bird's 2013 A to Z Challenge!  I am posting a poem for each letter of the alphabet.  Sometimes the poem will be prose, other times it might be an artistic rendition of the poem, or a reading by the poet... the possibilities are endless!  I hope you will be stopping by throughout the Month of April to check them out!


Becoming Domestic
Written by Nicole Krauss

A hundred million migrants roam the planet.
They kick up a soft dust, from space they appear
To be weather, a little storm the wind faithfully carries.

When it rains they lift their bowls to the sky.
They sleep with a rock under their heads.
At dawn they are the first to break the photographic stillness.

They have lost all sense of distance. A sort of arrival—late,
Under darkening skies, the smell of miles on your clothes—
A sort of arrival is needed to say how far you've traveled.

The crunch of gravel in the neighbor's driveway.
He will join the road with those other sedentary dreamers,
The unnumbered who've found a home just to leave it.

There is no good reason why night after night
I sleep here with you.
Only that the roof over our heads has not yet fallen.

---
Nicole Krauss is the author of one of the *most* *incredible* novels I have ever read- The History of Love (add it on Goodreads!)

Monday, April 1, 2013

A to Z : All The Birthday Candles -Sarah Certa

I am a participant in Arlee Bird's 2013 A to Z Challenge!  I am posting a poem for each letter of the alphabet.  Sometimes the poem will be prose, other times it might be an artistic rendition of the poem, or a reading by the poet... the possibilities are endless!  I hope you will be stopping by throughout the Month of April to check them out!


All The Birthday Candles (as appeared in Country Music)
Written by Sarah Certa

December 10th is Emily Dickinson’s birthday
and also mine. I tell people this
as if it means something. As if sharing a birthday
makes us friends, allies
across time, like two leaves grown on the same tree
just over a century apart, or gate posts
on either side of a field that could be a cemetery
if all the things in it seemed more dead, if their echoes
weren’t so loud. I keep hearing
the scrape of the iceberg slicing open
the steel belly of the Titanic, the cries
of children drowning. I think of all the bullets
people have shot at each other
and themselves, and my temples
ache like that time I had a seizure and felt like someone
was banging my head against the bars of a cage underwater, the closest
to someone trying to kill me
I’ve ever felt. Sometimes my ears ring
and I think it’s the vibrations of the atomic
bomb and all the wars
I’m too sensitive to talk about, though someone keeps
projecting war films on the back wall
of my brain, stained sepia clips
of legless soldiers in trenches in France, pyramids
of dead bodies, Anne Frank’s toothy grin, and smokestacks
that make my nose burn so hard I’m afraid if I sneeze I’ll cover
this table in ashes, which will look and feel and smell
no different than my own ashes
some day. God I feel like an asshole
for being able to choose whether or not
I want my body burned when I die, for choosing
not to finish my lunch today
because I want to be
a little thinner. Vietnam is a rusty fork
twisting my brain like spaghetti, like the intestines
of a soldier shot in the stomach. Headlines say weekend violence
in southern Afghanistan rose the U.S. death toll
to over 2,000 this year, so I write this down
because I don’t know what else to do. It’s early October
and Jeff has been dead for half a year. I hate
that in all my thoughts about him
he is floating horizontally above the county roads I drive on
in the early mornings, a shadow
between the trees like Olympian torches, the trees like burning towers,
like all the birthday candles
he’ll never blow out. I’m always reaching
back through time, brushing snow
off of headstones, reaching
for Emily’s hands. I want to bake a cake
with her, have a birthday party
in the snow. I want to lace
my fingers in hers
and hold the world that’s come between us
like an orphan in our arms, like a child
whose parents died in a fire
no one knows how to put out. I want to sing
to it, tell it to make a wish, let it believe, for a moment,
in something greater than itself.