a man used me
as a whetstone to sharpen his knives
cleaning his sullied tools on my skin
it was from a fresh kill -
I could taste the blood through my pores
and smell it coat my nose to the back of my skull
it stained my skin and I scraped with a razor
to peel it away -
to get back to myself
as a snake’s annual vacation
cleansing the old with a painful new beginning.
I incised his scent by
peeling back my lips to remove his taste
and unfolding my velvet petals to release lodged pieces of him,
but welling up through the lacerations and rugburn
I smell his cologne linger seeping
into my stomach churning into waste
to spit out all our harsh words.
on belly with broken limbs
I will find my seedbed, fix the broken twigs,
repair inside, strike my head out only to
feed on some small trivial husk for the barest sustenance
until strong enough to run away.
let me be small
fold myself limb unto limb
soft pliable tissue origami
into a crane
pointed beak a distortion
of elbows and curled toes
and set me in your back pocket
among your treasures
lighters and cigarette butts
i’ll lay sandwiched between
a bad penny and the parking ticket
under the curves of your wallet
breathing new life into the worn leather
even as it destroys me
press after press
step after step
until i am crinkled
and cannot spring back
you will find me one day
in the laundromats
or your mother’s house
and i’ll feel like every battered tablecloth
your fingers caressed during lonely holidays
bunched up between forefinger and thumb
and flicked so carelessly
carried on the wind
into a landfill; my home
where i belong
rotting under every other’s
This boat is heading nowhere,
she implores. He steers harder,
cranking the wheel
like this isn’t a boat:
a gaudy Hummer stuck
in five o'clock traffic on I-40
with their exit approaching
five lanes across, too close to chase.
Ignore each tidal wave of cars
On the shore of their white-picket house
they left guests, two kids,
an itemized list
of deductions, a marriage,
but she swears up and down
with Gucci and Prada
that it was bagged
along with strings of
pearls next to the family album,
under the good china,
sandwiched between apologies.
The water is getting shaky,
it grinds jagged
nails down the back
of this ship
sink. Not crash
as driftwood confetti
shocking bathers in bikinis
on the gritty
I left more than footprints on the beach
next to sand-dollars and sea snails. The rocks forsook
impressions on my soles, and each jagged
cut between my toes provided no remembrance.
I felt the ebb and flow vibrate in my bones.
I gasped for salt and sunken ships.
I inhaled memories.
Above, on gritty shores, grasping palms and rails,
they told me not to fall, but a naivete
more solid than stones had already taken hold.
When you first caressed my face, it was the slap
of Neptune splashing frigid on my face, stinging
like bees and leaving a buzz more fervent.
No warnings of stormy tides drove me away from this place
nor tsunami glares in the distance
as you dragged me away from the ledge,
heels dug in a futile dance,
the wind forced my eyes to a lone fishing raft.
I feared, it would never sail; stuck here longing
until the ocean claimed it.
I left more than footprints; lost to the sea.
When this ended
us like an autumn blanket, strangling
like an overbearing mother.
An indifferent choking blanket,
but safe regardless of
it’s rot: tones
of gold and maroon
soured by fungus.
masking the vomit forming
from betrayal -
an angel in snake’s clothing
tightening its grasp.
A feverish embrace
I waited for
a purifying consumption
a la folie a deux.
Folie a duex
a la pyre
causing feverish embraces
and shallow diatribe.
I was waiting
to spit like a snake.
We grasped for an domineering angel -
a safe cover sated
to rotting stench
as long as it had tones of gold.
An autumn forest of maroon fungus
while contracting this betrayal.
A rising mother
with sour bitter emesis
choked until the end.
We were still young
when you died:
seventeen, alive, and wild.
You choked on two shells from a double barrel
At the ripe age of seventeen both
listening to music,
or watching television,
probably feeling sorry
your brains splattered.
We were writing
your modern art
elegy as a symbolic dirge.
A symbolic dirge
elegy you were writing
as our modern art: brains splattered
or feeling sorry?
We were probably watching
ripe television when listening
to aged music at seventeen;
while you choked on two shells from a double barrel
Wild and alive,
we were seventeen,
still young when you died.
Dance of the Dead
Our Dead have wasted limbs and sunken
faces, but today they dance. They point
gyrating pelvises to the sky first,
followed by contortionist tricks.
Each extended elbow flings a skeletal
palm downward, and upward, then into fists.
Our Ancestors pound the soil with soft fists -
an enraged dance sunken
by dislocated parts. Phalanges point
to incite a riot. First,
they reveal the greatest trick.
Death is a minstrel whose lute is skeletal.
Our Forgotten wail songs with their skeletal
throats: guttural hymns like calloused fists.
They dance in time, wobbling, while their feet sunken
into hallowed graves. Balancing on-point
with rotting stilts, each kick is a first
attempt at mocking repeated tricks.
Our Lost curl their shoulders and toes; a trick
of ecstatic dance while shuffling their skeletal
edges to distract their minds. With burrowing fists,
they rake out holes in coffins. Sunken
faces grimace as hallowed music points
diminishing souls to direction first.
Our Deranged rip at chests as the first
crescendo of the moon reveals its trick.
Blood-moons provide beat for this grim, skeletal
masquerade. The only masks are remnants of fists
pressed in cavities of the now sunken
faces, but debauchery will not reach its point.
Our Departed flail wildly as they point
feet into the earth, now bare as the first
earth on this land. A trick
of the moon fails to signal sunrise. Surprised, skeletal
visages start to fall, crashing, their fists
grasp at roots fearing to be eternally sunken.
Our Dead can dance with fearful, sunken
aspects before first
sunrise, leaving the graveyard skeletal.
us to try a crafted potion.
too long awaited
hedonism to shun
we cool veins slated
for rage. We are gifted a fiction
this stinging, hated
puncture weeps a bloody notion:
us. To anodyne fated
as body tremors precede torsion:
as a patient dated
for surgery, and dead to tension.
the now medicated.