PyromaniaI want to see a light show in ochre and dancers
two thousand degrees in heat: I want to watch them
all traipse across my bedroom floor with their
encore in grey.
Blistered fingers flicking cigarette lighters
to see an orange pirouette turn for me,
my parents worry that I smell of smoke but they
don't know the reality.
The truth is that you can find me weaving
kerosene trails around the moon and Saturn's rings
telling acorns and oak leaves to enjoy our
favourite disease -
So I flick the lighter once again and speak
to the blackened walls and singed floors:
'Don't fear the kiss of the flame
don't let them douse the burns you reap
don't stop dancing, just don't stop dancing
Hummingbirds (the heart's song)Her mind is a hummingbird and her irises are wings, flitting from point to point, a shrill whistle coming from lips, overflowing with lily-nectar. There are bare brick roads beneath her feet but she does not notice. Birds don't need feet, and she is a bird. Small, light, the girl with stars in her eyes who sees herself with peacock feathers tucked into her pockets.
His thoughts are neat little boxes and the hummingbird has unpacked them with frantic fluttering. He is more of a stoic magpie, the sort who is labelled as 'sorrow' but will still sing a song for those who recoil in the hope he can reunite Pangaea. He is, nonetheless, distracted by the flighty hummingbird who has unraveled every emotion he carries in that fluttery heart of his.
The hummingbird girl and the magpie boy found themselves procrastinating from birdsong and forming their own avian music with the twin beats of fluttering aorta. The heart's song is the best music to watch fly on the wind, after all.
BirdcageNothing ever happens the way you read in the history books. In war there are never two armies, there is only a field of men. Never a number of dead; but individual lives snuffed out. That is what the subject of history is, years shelved and decimalized. Birth and death, graphed to the simplicity of lines. Great wars a footnote to the next great war. The achievements of men and women plotted out against the bookmark of day, month and year.
And somewhere amongst this, my mother breathed. Somewhere danced in now long-closed nightclubs, laughed at jokes told by a younger version of my Father. And then the unpin-able moment she fell in love with him, after which she would have sworn there was no moment, that she'd always loved him.
I try to place things, to tell the story to myself, but you cannot know the story of a life; you can only tell a new story from theirs, as one cannot speak with another's tongue.
Whilst other children would be given sweets, I would have to excavate them. Taught t
6am: Rising to crackled reception,
this, the mimicked serenade to sunrise,
performed the whole world over.
8am: In the kitchen,
and a coffee cup
invite me to breakfast.
I count morning on both hands,
four espresso ribbons,
draped over the pages,
filling where ink cannot.
12pm: I lie on the small square of grass
looking up into the apex of cerulean.
Up on the gutter,
sits a bird, still,
below thick down,
ticks suck out birdsong.
one of quiet tragedy.
3pm: In the supermarket
I watch people stocking up,
Silent Was The Mightiest SoundShe drove in the morning in
veil-like fogs, hair whipped like
slick, black snakes in a stream
from windows cracked, leather
skin of days and days and yet
more days, with a cigarette lit so
her red embers glow in the dimness.
A puff from her nostrils, another
from her lips, her trembling hands
subside on the wheel, save for two
fingers with a smoke-stick stuck
between them. It wasn't the hum
of the engine, nor the rasp in her
breath. No, it was the silence
that taught us in the end, ours and
hers alike. When days and days and
more days had passed, silent was her
sound, and it was the mightiest
sound of them all.
The Opus Of The Everythingthe ocean floor, the twisted sea and
all the flying jacket bees, and all
the flying birds and he, the one who
caught the glint of spring, who laid
it on the downy dew, the crispy green
of May fescue, who saw the plans of built
up lights that burn to light a thousand
pools of dripping rain and puddles lay
on any given night or day, the brick by
brick, the mortar spread, the snap of sugar
sweetly felt, the brine that made it
through the cloud, the opus of the
everything, the great and wide, the heat
of flame, the sun in cold but sunny sky,
the sound of when a child laughs,
the opus of the everything
Out Of AshesHe awoke in a tidy room, lights on as
well as cloths though disheveled, tired,
and worn. It was nothing fancy, nothing
dramatic, only a deep breath in and then
his eyes opened without the spinning
and the forgetting and that heaviness of
heart. In that instant, things were
simplified. The tightness in his muscles,
the aching of joints and feet and
this drudgery - miles and
miles and miles and miles, countless
miles. Infinity is what it seemed like before,
that number that isn't a number,
unimaginable even though we try to come
up with words and familiar phrases. "Infinity".
That is not how it seems anymore. Things
are simplified now - the joints and
aches of this bag of bones and flesh,
rising from that metaphorical slumber - he
lifts himself out, because a whisper
in his heart said that a phoenix
rises out of ashes.
I -don't- understandI (dont) understand
the silhouette of my neighbors
husband, sleeping on hot cement;
the egg that fried, sunny-side-up,
before the pool deck burned my
collecting diamonds dropped
from the back pocket of a setting
sunrise, the moon-drunk Isis shares
your disgraced comet eyes with the
my salient disappointments
buried in the question of the sea;
I am Dr. Frankenstein and you are
my perfect Galatea, curves becoming
driveall pigtails and freckles,
bubblegum and denim jumpers,
youre too young to know what
the letter D, U and I stand for,
but youre already
driving me up a
an ocean of stonewe are not the sea, seething, cold,
drinking homes and spitting
dust, wet, cohesive
we are sediment, layered on the hands
of our ancestors, who faces turned,
saw the stars drop behind mute eyelids,
bathed in lightning and fallout,
drank the night
we are the foundations of the Earth, lightly
balanced on the foundations of the sun and stars
we sleep, warm and rough beneath breathing
life and birth through quietus, stomach rumbling
with dreams of food and history
we grasp the mountains in our teeth and
straining against the whispers of Elijah, we
pull them down, swallowing them,
percolating their essence through porous skin
we are the
A Crab Eyeing A Tourist
Find out what you are,
Where you are headed.
Find your own moon and land on it.
A chair scraped across a vinyl floor and made an embarrassing sound.
"My name is Alex and I have a problem."
Someone waved their hands. "Does this problem involve an actual child actually being raped?"
Alex thought about this. "No," he decided.
"Then continue," the group leader said, bowing her head.
"But this child who was definitely not raped, and not by me, his name was Thomas."
All around the circle, a gentle ripple of applause broke out.
"Thank you, Alex," smiled the group leader, "that was very brave. You can sit down."
Alex sat, being careful not to make the chair scrape this time. Next to the group leader, a man nervously raised his hand and said, "Erm, if I may, can I ask, uh, a question. A question to Alex."
"N-" said the leader.
"Sure," said Alex, smiling, "I think we should be totally open. After all, anything I have to hide must be illegal, right?"
The group leader smiled falsely and
Dealing with IT - Part 1
Simon Taste arrived for work late and without his ID badge. On mornings like this he vowed never to drink so much the night before work. He had consumed a bottle of wine and several beers and as such, he had forgotten to bring his ID badge and put his shirt on the right way round.
He approached the reception desk of his building slowly.
"Good morning!" one of the security guards said.
The building was open from seven a.m. which was two hours ago. They had drunk their coffee, chatted with their mates and generally woken up. Simon was not even convinced he was awake yet.
"Morning. I forgot my badge."
"Oh dear, late night was it? Haha, I'll just sort you out a temporary one. Who's your manager?"
Curvature.The snow-globe roof is night and the decoration is
a golden ratio of stars swirling over and over in two clock spins:
true and anti-true. Lie down and see the curvature of the earth.
Sky is a blanket highlighted by solitary pins of light - it doesn't twinkle
it shines with a million potential wishes. Spine curves
vertebrae breaking under planes who trail red and green over a Polaroid sky.
Some of us are our own galaxies.
Fireating.Your showcase act,
toes the line between
distance edges closer as her
heart rate stalls.
Your glitz girl,
knows the time it takes to
her balance was performance but she
fell for you.
IntroducedNursery, their hands collide;
Finger-painting side by side,
A big crude mess of blue, red, green
Most beautiful art their mums've seen
Circle time, they sit together;
Sing songs 'bout rain and stormy weather,
His eyes latch on, hers look away
He notes her iris'; hazel-grey
Dress up game, the two pair up
King and Queen of childish scrubs,
Tiaras sparkle as swords smash
He knows they'd be a royal match
At the end of Tuesday's play
She asks if he walks home her way,
As mothers chat and peck and fuss,
They pinkie swear each other's trust.
Twelve years later down the line
He knows her smile and pretty eyes-
They hold hands and walk the world together;
Sing songs 'bout rain and stormy weather.
Love and War: PrologueThey were seven years old when they first met.
The boy was squatting in the dirt and watching a beetle as it flailed on the ground, stuck on its back. He prodded it gently, turning it over onto its feet as the girl came up behind him.
"Whatcha looking at?" she asked. The beetle flicked its wings indignantly, and sunlight flashed off the iridescent green. "Ooh, that's a pretty bug."
She reached down to scoop it up, but he grabbed her wrist. "Don't touch it!" Sensing the danger, the beetle began to crawl away.
"Hey!" the girl exclaimed. "Let go of me!" She yanked her arm free and shoved him backward.
Startled, he landed on his bottom and stared up at her. "That's not very nice," he informed her. "Girls shouldn't push."
"Oh yeah? Well, boys shouldn't grab. It's your own fault you were beat by a girl."
Now the boy was glowering. "I could beat you any day.
The Stepmother's TaleI found a man in my garden bed,
Picking herbs for his wife, he said,
For she was hungry and heavy with child.
"For greens, your daughter is mine," I smiled.
So after the birth, I took her away
To a tall, doorless tower where she would stay.
I was her mother, she my one care--
"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your fair hair!"
But then a prince came and stole her young heart,
So I cut her long locks and let her depart.
I took her tresses for my own
And saw how beautiful I had grown.
Then I wondered: could I, too,
Find a prince so valiant and true?
I married a king, to my delight,
With one daughter named Snow White.
Though his age was quite obscene,
I was his happily cherished queen.
Until -- "Mirror, on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?"
Was my stepdaughter fairer than I?
Jealousy declared that she must die!
I followed her deep into the forest
To where dwarves mined; "Hi ho," they chorused.
Disguised, I fed her an apple so red
That after one bite she was thoroughly dead.
eleven o'clock p.m.at eleven o'clock p.m.
we sit in the barn
silent and nervous
listening to the panting doe,
five months of waiting.
when will it begin?
pushing longer and harder
it has begun.
we stand ready
hands clenched tight
around the towels.
a bubble appears.
is that a nose
behind the membrane?
we do not have time
a small form writhes
in the sawdust.
we dry it off
and hold it out
to the mother
who murmurs proudly,
so immersed in her first-born
that she does not realize
a second has come.
she is now standing up
so we catch the kid
before it hits the ground.
when the third comes,
something is wrong:
why didn't the bubble pop?
the kid is stuck inside
unable to breathe
kicking -- where is the head?
time is ticking too quickly.
the eldest has taken
its first steps.
it bleats triumphantly
steps on its smaller sibling
dodges its mother's tongue
determined to find the teat.
the third still struggles
unnoticed by the doe
HindsightNo one ever calls me. They text, they email, they leave notes. Calling is a very unreliable way to get in touch with me; I normally will not answer. It's nerve-wracking, carrying on a conversation with someone whose face you cannot see. Things can be misunderstood, and feelings can be hurt if you aren't careful.
This is why I ignored the insistent buzz of my cell phone as I sat in that dim little café. The place wasn't the easiest to find, and the coffee could get a little expensive, but it was good enough that the price was justified. It was a nice place to relax, and that's why I refused to pick up the phone. Usually I turn it off completely; I don't know why I didn't that day.
But the buzzing continued, and after the third round I started thinking that it might just be easier to simply pick up. With a heavy, exaggerated sigh, I yanked my coat off the seat and rummaged through the pockets. A quick glance at the screen told me it was my best friend, Julie, and I almost changed my
Perfect ContritionIn a proper Catholic church, everything echoes. Any sound uttered within the building bounces of the floor and the walls and the high, vaulted ceilings, so much so that I imagine that they could easily reach the ears of God himself. It's a rather poetic thought, the voices of mere mortals ringing towards Heaven with the help of good acoustics, but that thought's tempered by the fact that it includes every single noise: the coughs of emphysemic old men, the rustling of an impatient young girl's dress, and the taps of even the softest rubber-soled sneakers are no exception. On rainy days like this one, those shoes tend to squeak, which probably hurts God's ears as much as it does mine. If I didn't feel like I had to be here today, the noise would be enough to drive me out the heavy double doors.
I didn't make it in time for Massand I honestly wasn't in a rush for it anywayso the church is mostly empty save for the few waiting in line for the confessional. This church h
87. HungerHe decided one day that he no longer needed his heart, so he plucked it straight from his chest with the intention of ridding himself of it. As he cradled it like an infant, he realized how frail it was, so young and unready for the world outside.
It grew quickly under is erratic care, eventually becoming something quite beautiful for all its eeriness. Soon it became able to aid him in his work and threw itself into the tiny tasks he often neglected to complete on his own. With increasing frequency he'd look over to find it staring at him with a burning gaze, but he simply brushed it off as an inevitability; it was a heart, after all.
Sometimes it would attempt to coax a return of that emotion from him with small touches and tiny tokens of affection. He responded to these quite well and gave it kisses and embraces and occasionally something much better. It took these eagerly and convinced itself it was sated as it slowly, silently rotted inside.
One morning he rose to find it cold and
reach out and touch joy.
stretch higher to attain it.
feel the mountain-top.
Astronomical love the girth of planets
the magnitude of galaxies
flowing like water, star over star
the years magnified in glass
to rub shoulders with posterity
glaring like ravens, fit for monsters
law's a fickle brigand clear of sense
ever blooming detail like mould
stringing enormities, strange glorious mushrooms
life in the microcosm
the weight of small society's beaded realm
floating like beacons, bracketing passion
so tickle the pen eager to drip monuments
weaned so recently to solids
teaming like salmon, baited and knowing
clumsy stab and thrust to prick a life
the organic levitant smoothes shyness
blaming like youths, fighting without reason
hazardous warning the multi-dimensioned nuance
pokes for shuddering moments in the dark
transforming sand, irritated into pearls
blind to reason and worn down like iron
rusting without knowing
a mind ever jealous of pitiless beauty.
I am gathering flowers for my girl.
She waits beneath the cherry tree,
couched among the leaves upon the grass.
Her beauty is no small thing,
and through the shady boughs
Summer's breath turns the twist of her braid.
The sun is sweeping clear the morning,
turning over slowly into midday
before expiring into unseeing darkness.
These garnered blooms still hardy though,
despite the shortened moments of their existence,
they will colour the chestnut hair I love.
In truth, I cannot stem this smile,
this attitude of quiet pleasure;
she has distilled it like music.
I am gathering flowers for my girl.
She waits beneath the cherry tree,
couched among the leaves upon the grass.
Far-fetchedAn elf lay in a tree, comfortably as if it was a hammock. A dwarf stoked their campfire and lit his pipe. The forest was quiet but for the rustle of leaves and the occasional hoot of owls. The night spun lazily above them.
'Do you ever wonder who lives in the sky?' said the elf after a while.
'Birds,' grunted the dwarf.
'No, I mean the people up there.'
'All the poor buggers who fell up into it, I would imagine.'
The elf sighed. 'Where do your gods live?' he asked.
'Our gods are wrought in stone,' replied the dwarf. 'What would they do up there? There's nothing to do, nowhere to stand.' He paused, then added 'Nothing to hit with an axe.'
Silence again, until the elf thought he had found an angle to spark his friend's interest.
'Do you think it would be possible to fashion some sort of boat? A sky boat?'
The dwarf chewed his pipe in contemplation.
'Possibly,' he conceded. 'But it would be a life's work without purpose. There's nothing up there.'
'I disagree. I dreamt last night of all m
The Undeath and Death of Yves CarabinYves Carabin was kind of undead. It was a complicated situation. He was also a private detective. That was complicated too.
He left the bar a little wiser than he'd been when he walked in half an hour ago. He was also a little drunker and his knuckles were a lot sorer. His trenchcoat whipped in the wind. A few drops of rain came down sideways to herald the gathering stormclouds. Yves turned up his collar and lit a cigarette with his eye socket.
There was a girl he used to know. A djinn. One time he got himself shot in the eye. She mended him with smokeless flame. Resurrected him. That was the first time. A couple of glowing scars on his back attested to the others. He wasn't sure if he counted as a wight or a revenant or just a plain old zombie. All he knew was that he had a heartbeat again and he owed her for it.
He puffed on his gauloise and regarded the embers as he exhaled. Fire reminded him of her. When it had been her turn to die he'd spent day after day and night after night try
35mm black and whiteNestled in the vignette gloom,
Cross-legged in a stranger's room.
Upon wool carpet you luxuriate, your feet bereft of shoe,
Façade of soberness betrayed
By the bottles there arrayed,
Dilated eyes look through the lens, a glint of mischief there imbued.
A stubbl'd man nuzzles your neck,
In camera flash, he's caught mid-peck,
His face obscured but for his jaw, slight smile upon his lips.
Your hair reads strawberry red despite
The rendering in black and white
Of the party you're enjoying and the boyfriend you eclipse.
The ghost of you considers me
And smiles quite adorably,
And seems to find it funny, but I can't say I agree.
It seems to me you beckon
From within your frozen second
And it scares me that you're more real here than in reality.
Coyote EnvyJeremy Driggers didn't just love coyotes. He envied them. He wanted to be one, and gradually grew less and less guarded about it. He drew coyotes in his notebooks in class. He watched Warner Bros. cartoons and rooted against The Road Runner. He wrote letters to the editor defending coyotes going through garbage cans in suburbia.
Jeremy wasn't very outgoing in or out of class, so no one paid much mind to him or his coyotes. He wore coyote T-shirts to class and even put a tail hole through a pair of pants, but no one asked him about it. At night, rather than socialize, he would lie outside and stare at the sky, obsessing about being a coyote.
This continued from high school into college. Jeremy signed up for several clubs where he hoped to meet like-minded individuals, but they never came at it from the same angle. They cared about camping and hunting, or endangered species, or Native American culture. No one else expressed interest in becoming a coyote, so he wasn't about to volunteer i
Looking UpAaron fumed.
It was his day off, and here he was at work anyway, two hours to close. He hated training people, but tomorrow was a big day, and he would pay for it in the long run if he put it off. He had been home alone, wasting time, but the principle of it still bothered him. He practically lived here these days.
He exited the car and slammed the door. Then he noticed a young man, probably a college student, standing at the edge of the parking lot. He was on the grass, looking straight up at the night sky. A full moon gleamed overhead.
In his funk, Aaron had forgotten the full moon! It almost always cheered him up. He smiled and called out to the stranger, "Hope I didn't disturb you."
There was no response, and Aaron stopped to stare at the full moon for a while himself. He felt better. He laughed, remembering his childhood experiment to see how long it took for the full moon to turn him into a werewolf. He had been a weird kid, and proud of it.
"It's beautiful, but it doesn't do any
I'll warn you upfront: this isn't glamorous.
At first, I thought I was in a car or on a plane. I woke up in an uncomfortable chair with an incredible headache and no idea where I was. My eyes slowly adjusted to the sickly yellow light, and I saw a ceiling with water damage. I didn't recognize it. I smelled mildew and smoke, which would've startled me if not for the headache.
I started to rub my head, but I couldn't move my hand. I looked down, and my wrist was stuck in something. Actually both wrists. And ankles. I didn't like where this was going.
Ugly laughter erupted from across the room. "About time you came around!" someone shouted. I rolled my heavy head to the left and saw Seth and Nate. They were sitting on an unmade bed, smoking.
Seth was not one of my favorite people. He worked at a bar I avoided, and he was why. He and I went back ten years, so we knew a lot of the same people. Like Nate.
Nate wasn't a bad guy, or at least wasn't till recently. He was lonesome and impression
Good IntentionsThe tiny brown mouse, identified only by the bright orange 47 tag on its ear, trudged through the cedar chips toward the water bottle attached to the cage. It nudged the spout twice with the tip of its nose, and droplets oozed out onto the mouse’s forehead. With a soft grunt, the mouse jolted backward and collapsed in a heap in the opposite corner, its chest trembling with exhaustion.
“Amazing,” Victoria Krell whispered, scribbling notes onto her iPad. The fluorescent lighting flickered above her, and she began writing faster; Craig was getting impatient for his bed. She scratched out a side note in capitalized, red letters to remind herself to bring Star Lab’s oldest night security guard a big batch of Boston creams tomorrow morning.
Victoria leaned closer to the lone cage perched on her workstation, watching 47’s wet, blank staring eyes. The brown mouse was only one of twenty in a three foot long cage. It was not particularly interesting or unique,
Strange FruitThere was no way Carol could be more hot and bothered than she was now. She only wished it involved a sparkling Mai Tai and a four star hotel instead of the fucked up fixer upper with the skinny little lizards crawling all over her sandals.
The Arizona sun blazed high and bright in the noonday sky, the frantic chirping of cicadas filling the air. While she sat on her new porch under the meager shade, she could hear her husband rifling around in the U-Haul in the driveway. Something large and heavy crashed, and glass shattered. Brian let out a vehement curse.
Carol mopped the sweat from her forehead with her T-shirt. "You all right in there, hun?" She shifted her weight to her right side to take some of the pressure off her sore backside. In the many months the house had remained vacant, a water pipe had burst and leaked all over the kitchen floor. Just her luck that she discovered it with her feet and in the dark. "Do you need me to come back or what?"
Another one of her mother's fragi
FlyingWe swam through the sky
and when we landed
we felt higher
than when we almost reached the
You kissed my neck and your lips
and the fire in my hair went out
and you sighed.
I hate this part of the song where I can't hear you anymore.
When you woke me up
I remembered why I used to love you;
why the ash on your tongue
used to taste so sweet.
mermaidswimming in my salty sheets,
not unlike the ocean.
i undulate with back pain and
in the water i'm seen.
i wrap my tail around his wrist
and kiss, but he only notices
bare breasts on me.
the jewish daughterThe dispatched current of
the greater twin daughter - his relish -
divides an entire nunnery
between her legs.
And it's almost mean -
that antic dress,
that endless body,
richer than rancidity;
PearlI dive for pearls of dissonance
when the surface of things is too damn
flat and placid;
too many things knocking me into
Christmas stocking holes, stuffed
deep and warm where
the light gets dimmer.
Too many voices planing the peaks of me,
sanding me down until I shine
and glimmer gemlike and
I want peaks to scale
and troughs to navigate;
want fat and gristle
to chew and my own grit-strewn
trail to stumble along;
I want to smart and bristle,
flicking opinion from my skin
like dew off a nasturtium,
and punch holes in blank pages
In summer we all burnThe summer is coming,
I hear the beach roaring from here,
can see shirts hung over shoulders,
sunglasses, arms round waists,
can feel the earth's purrs,
pollens tossed up at us in fanfare.
Ants are walking over me
because we're sharing a tree together.
Back to back, we're trying to
make our winter's pallour a warmer shade.
Is it some sort of personal sign
when you let your shoe-tongues fill with tan bark,
when it's driven you mad your whole life?
Or when you eat ice-cream in public (the sticky
fingers a mere afterthought)?
These trees though, they're not changing.
I can't help thinking they're
often doing better than we are.
Summer is coming; they sit still and burn.
Some go out with a bang!
Others fall to dust.
But us, we fuss and flail.
Still we burn.
Summer is for beaches and getting laid.
Summer is for stretching,
for sticking your proboscis into
the rivers and guzzling.
No, I can't help thinking about
the skeletons at the waterholes in the Mallee.
SloughCaught myself looking at myself,
my own self-knit frown staring down
the angles our shadows burn into the wall
that frozen floorboarded hall of mixed metaphor
and a portal between today and yesterday.
Staring through the marks and cracks
that delineate the look of me
toward the back of a head where the past lurks
full of its own regrets and quirks,
and "let's find out what works";
those dares that beckon,
darts of stares loaded with lightly-packaged suggestion,
they are at the roots of all the stems
poking out of coat collars,
bobbing on their pedestals
like wool spools rocking off their bobbins.
They're elsewhere now,
the daring howls and arboreal exploits,
held in and stoppered.
My head is a cork on a cannon;
from time to time my heart leaps against its verges
and dearly wants to go off.
The beads of water that chase each other
breathlessly down these skin channels fall
and cascade to the cold old boards,
fleshful and loaded:
the slough of it all,
fleeing my face
This had never happened before. And tonight, of all nights! He glanced at the clock, grimaced, and paced some more. Where was he?
Behind the curtain, he heard the chatter of the crowd, the beat of the music.
Marv the Magnificent, the "compere extraordinaire", strode up to Sammy and gave him a questioning look. Sammy answered with a shrug. Marv looked at his watch, wiped his brow, sipped from a tin hip-flask.
"It's now or never, Sam. Do or die. I believe you can do this on your own - but he'll be here yet."
Seeing the fear in his star attraction's eyes, Marv put a hand on Sammy's shoulder. "He'll be here yet", he repeated.
Marv swept out onto the stage. The lights - those oh-so-important lights - flared and blazed. The audience roared. Marv did his thing. Sammy listened nervously, jealously. Marv could perform alone; but he couldn't.
Sammy glanced around once more. He walked in front of a spotlight. Nothing. He swept his majestic cape. Nothing. M
The Ballad of Eiy'ra Haiz
Call him drunken Ira Hayes, he don't answer any more.
Not the whiskey drinking Indian, the marine who went to war.
A beaten up jukebox played old country songs in the corner of the bar. Outside, the mid-afternoon sun beat down on the cracked clay floor. The rocks surrounding the small mining town of Cripple Creek almost seemed to glow in the heat, and the horizon was half-hidden by haze. The township went about its business under the watchful eye of the local Dominion garrison.
But those in the Pink Moon sheltered from that world. The barman, Townes, was an old war veteran with only one arm. In place of the other was a crude robotic substitute. He served up drinks with little more than a vice, powered by a handful of servos which were connected to his arm just below the elbow. He was strangely proud of the device he'd often joke that he'd never play piano again, but his sex-life had improved tremendously.
Old Ma Haggard sat at the other side of the bar, smoking. She, like alm
"You mean you ain't never heard of the Gunslinger?"
The bar was almost dead at this time of night, and the question seemed to echo around the room - emphasising the sudden silence, rather than masking it.
"No, boy, I ain't."
Only a handful of stragglers remained, the dregs of the evening clearing the dregs of their whiskeys. The lights shone dimly, and everything moved lethargically in the warm Texas night.
"Well I'll be. I thought everyone 'round here knew the story of the 'slinger'," said one of the stragglers a tall, skinny man wearing a pale cowboy hat. A battered guitar rested on his knee.
"I'm new in town."
They sat at the bar - the musician and the newcomer. The guitarist resumed a lazy melody across the treble strings.
"Oh really?" he drawled, fingers sliding slowly over the fretboard. "And how are y'all finding our little patch of dirt?"
"Whiskey's expensive. Women all look like men," the newcomer replied. "Music's terrible," he added, eying up the musician suspiciously
L'OMBRE GRISEL'Ombre Grise.
Méchée de gel atone la prêtresse dépèce le squelette
Des vallées mortes
Ses longs silences blancs de sel
Hurler le ciel catastrophe aux reliefs d'éthers froids
La bouche offerte aux serpents
Paralysée de suicides rêches les béances
Massacre des autels ses ongles d'acier glace au cur de cannibale
Le vent du vide déroulait les draps du carnage
Sur sa face de pierre
Elle a rincé l'Épire noircie aux foudres du chêne silence
Où broyés de bronze ses soleils creux ensevelissent les vestiges du double
Morne Dodone les fleurs amorphes sèchent cruelles cicatrices et la Terre
Cadavres fracturés aux yeux stridents d'abysses c'est le règne des loups
Dans les lugubres bois mugir les feux mobiles des souterrains sans lune
Surgissant à sa dextre les dieux sont soumis les scolopendres
TONNERRES ET DESTINS - THUNDERS AND FATESTonnerres et destins
Flot de foudres
Passent comme une lame
Thunders and fates
Flood of lightning
Strikes like a blade
On the ocean.
En mémoire de mon père / In loving memory of my father.
J'AI VU TOMBER UN EMPIRE - I SAW THE FALL...(English version below)
J'ai vu tomber un Empire.
Cité désagrégée par les vents de la guerre
Murs d'airain éventrés
Coeurs froissés à la peine un espoir comme cendres
Par-delà les tertres froids
Dialogue d'un être et d'un néant
Soi contre moi
Te bercer dans les bribes balbutiées
Fils d'argent d'un discours sur l'or de ton coeur lourd
La feinte du fantôme
Comment voguer ton orage profond
Troue les abysses épais d'éclairs vifs courroucés
Tes yeux sur les frontières sacrées de l'Ouest
Farouche Impératrice au
UnkemptEvery other day
you shook the
smell of sweat and coffee
from your skin.
You kept yourself preserved-
hairless as a sphinx cat-
wearing control as natural selection-
calling in the honeybee
to buzz round your neck
and your knees.
Full of cream
and tiny hairs,
the razor's matter-of-fact tears
against your calves, against your heels
rendered you less mammal
ManuscriptI have written us down, typed us up, and sent us out.
they will edit us, and say some parts are no good.
but I want your run-ons, your lack of punctuation; and you are so easy
on my weak binding, my damaged spine.
Outer SpaceI have constructed a canyon.
( it will be an addendum to the dream )
Not a U.S.-Southwest-redrock-dayhike-national-park canyon.
(it's the sort of place you go to die
and so it is too tempting to pass up)
Before you go, I
will have to strip you of your juju.
Whatever it is.
Wherever you keep it.
I have constructed a canyon.
I dug long and through until the sharp point of my want for you
CharlieI had a stalker.
I didn't know his name but I'm sure he knew mine.
I called him Charlie.
He always had a camera hanging from his twig thick neck and he cradled it in his hands; a wispy finger stroking the shutter release. His dark brown hair was a curly mess and his shirts wrinkly and thin. He had the most perfect eyebrows, sweeping and gentle. He must have the most captivating eyes, I thought every time he'd glance my way. We'd never made eye contact. Charlie preferred it that way.
He came into the bookstore once a week, not to watch me leaf through the used books or reach high to shelve the approved ones, but to actually browse them. He read the unknowns; the virgins with their unbroken spines. I imagine he liked the smell of them aromas preserved for him alone. Charlie appreciated the books wearing dusty coats and factory perfume a decade old.
The rest of the time he spent on the outside looking in. My co-workers were tickled pink. "What a geek." "Poor guy doesn't realize you
The Waste WorldShe said create the world, so I did. I made it dark and dusty, coughed up from my own black lungs. I gave the trees an ashen hue and the ground a color to match the starless sky. The creatures were murmuring oozes, globs of drying acrylic that inked across the orb of my bubbling imagination.
Repulsing, it was in fact the product of an industrial mind. I was born from man's smog goddess and, if memory serves me, her breath was laced in exhaust which I inhaled nightly with her songs. She was soothing and complacent, her voice smokey like a hazy bar. No one could deny her features were hideous beyond belief. Her skin dripped pollution like morphine into veins, into deep red rivers to turn them ebony and clogged. Her eyes glistened obsidian, sharp and cold if you didn't know her at all. I knew she was lost and ashamed, as her mother, my grandmother, would often remind her of the destruction her presence caused. I loved her like grandmother nature never could.
Grandmother was ,indeed, a gra
PetrichorHear the rain radiating from rocks sub rosa.
We percolate unspoken words, unwritten truths,
condensed particles of what could be
rolling off intangibles, but not the tongue
made of roses. We are playing the rain
over susceptible skin and I am fading
through your stomata. Enfold me in your petals
before I evaporate away from you.
I am transpiring through leaf-lined avenues
to weight the air with leaden cloud ready to weep
at the pressure of lips, the press of hands enfolded.
Your slightest breath hints at a heat wave;
I can't handle your humidity. Everything you
are to me is soaking through my bones and
I am helplessly, hopelessly wanting.
Unite for our glory, for our honor,
And for our price.
We are invincible,
We are gods of war,
Gods of the field,
Heroes of the battleground,
Demons for the ones that cant see our glory.
We are here for all of you,
Protecting you from real demons,
With our hammers,
With our sword,
With our power,
With our glory.
We stand against evil,
We stand against the ones that dont pay.
They are waiting in fear,
They are scared of us,
We will destroy them all.
Brothers and sons of warriors,
Be proud of what you may be,
And fight for what is real,
And destroy everything that is in your way.
Destroy is what we do,
Its what we live for
Its what we enjoy most,
Its what we do, just for fun,
Just for pain.
Hydrofluoric AcidWe called it the sparkling city, the castle on the other side of the world, but it wasn't until much later that I found out it was just a glittering oil refinery pumping toxic gases into the air. We wondered at the way it glimmered against the stars like a just out of reach mirage. We were safe, 6.7 miles away, lying in the grass underneath the weight of invisible radiowaves and unspoken thoughts.
Now Dad tells me about my sparkling castle; the jagged, smoking tiers that pierce the skyline and cast a heavy glow outside of his new apartment.
"So there's this toxic gas they use to make petroleum in the refinery. It's fine for now, until something goes wrong and it's released. Paul told me it's heavier than air and sort of creeps along the ground with the wind. But apparently it'll really fuck you up if you come into contact with it."
Back then, you held me tightly around my waist while I spread my arms, wanting to glide over the river, the boats and barges, the railyard, t
AutumnSomething happened in autumn. Besides the leaves turning, anyway. They weren't very pretty this year, to be honest. The trees changed unevenly because of the lack of rain in the summertime. The sky was gloomy for most of October.
I wanted to take photos of the trees with you before they turned. You know, cliché nature shots. A hillside lined with red and umber foliage. Maple leaves sprinkled over the patio after the unexpected snow in October shocked them. Milkweed spores detaching from their pods and drifting away. Things to line the inside of the photo album I was making for you.
We drank too much of the summer sun in July. By the time fall came, parts of us were falling off. Our colors had blazed too early. We were fading, deteriorating. An unexpected freeze had settled overnight. You can't really explain them. Meteorologists have tried. So have I, but I guess I can't blame everything on a cool front from Canada.
I woke up one morning after sleeping by your side; I g
InscribeOnce I knew this boy
who stopped knowing what to say,
so he took all of his problems
and left them on a page.
So I'd read between the lines
of different quotes every day.
Sometimes lyrics, or sometimes
Vonnegut, Neruda or Hemingway.
"So it goes" he'd quote,
and I never knew what to say
Instead I read the words he fed me
until they'd eaten me away.
He took all of his troubles
and stacked them on a shelf,
Too high for me too reach,
too far for me to help.
Now I'm reminded of him when
I hear a book or movie quote,
or when I see the delicate
lines and marks of music notes.
So I took all of his words
and kept them in my head.
All the work he'd written
and mostly everything he'd said.
I put him down on paper,
as he did with me,
And painted him on canvas
for everyone to see.
So to all, I show that I recall
his fading, far off face,
That only with paper we can
keep a person in one place.
that quiet little struggleYou exhale and let the nic fit slither down your spine. Your hands tremblenot that you're paying them much mind when there's a fresh pack of Marlboros on the desk in front of you. It's been how long, now? But looking at the little tab in that clear plastic wrapper, it's like the first day all over again.
You can already feel the soft weight of it between your middle and forefingers, drooping a little from the density of the tobacco. Hear the click and hiss of your lighter and the crackle of embers. Feel the warm sweet-bitter smoke settle in your lungs as you inhale and escape from your lips again when you breathe out.
And you taste the filter: neutral at first and steadily more like sour earth. The toxins seep through, settling in the porous tissue of your lungs and spreading outward. You feel them delicately chipping away at your health and your lifespan long after the cigarette burns down to the filter and you discard it in the cloudy glass ashtray on the windowsill.
the editorI make bad things go away.
Hit man? No, it's nothing like that. No, not organized crime. Christ, kid, where do you get these ideas? I bet it's television. Or those goddamn video games you people are always playing. What? So now I'm being judgmental? Do you know what I could do with one scratch of my pen?
No, forget it. I'm a little tired, that's all. It's hard work, you know. If you'd just listen for a moment, I'll tell you.
I'm a city editor. Not like newspapers, no. You have to train a lifetime to do the kind of work I do. And even if you do train a lifetime, not everybody's got the brains for it, you know? Imagination, that's what I'm talking about! You're young. You know imagination, don't you?
Now don't be stingy with the bottle. I know you were just going to spend the money getting wasted is what you call it, right? Better I drink this poison anyway. You're not old enough to be ruining your liver.
Now as I was saying. City editor. You think it is about newspapers, hah! Shows
The words barely register; shes already slumped against the tree and clutching her elbows with bone-white fingers. Something cracks in her left arm, but the pain wont come until much, much later. Her breath catches, falters, ceases for longer than she would have believed possible, until her vision dims and she sucks in a rush of air that triggers the tears already threatening the corners of her eyes. She should have expected this, of course.
The moon, obscured by fog, casts little light on the deserted park, and her stomach lurches when she realizes that she wont even have a clear memory of his face. She fumbles for her lighter, feigning the need for a cigarette, and tries to light one. Her hand shakes and she gives up on the fourth attempt.
I didnt meanIt would have been better if youd stood me up.
You know I couldnt.
Her voice, hollow but perfectly audible, startles them both. He watches her
ProjectionOnce, alone at a circus, I gave five dollars to a fortune teller: a woman made older by cosmetics, forced to sit stiff and erect in what looked like a converted phone booth.
From behind the glass, she said, "Two miles west of the Lincoln turnpike is a strip mall. At the center of a shop there, golden light pours from a snow globe, casting wheeling flecks of shadow against the walls.
Children try to catch them all day long, laughing, until the shop closes."
The same night, I dreamt my mother took me to the shop as a child. Just as the fortune teller had said, other children leapt about, grasping at the dim meandering rays. I only looked in circles, awed, and told her:
"This is where I want to go when I die."
She looked down at me - I could not see her for her height - and said, "That's nice, dear. Maybe you will."
Gasping back: "I hope I do!"
On waking, I realized I had told her the truth, as complete and self-contained as a pearl. I never forgot that dream, and later - much later - too
Old Radio StaticIn the aftermath of the failed attempt, Sasha M. went to a bar on Strawson St, where she ordered a pint of its toughest porter and slouched into an empty booth. Whenever one seemed to encourage a refill or a food order, she shot the server a scathing look over her smartphone. Between these forays into doing business, Sasha sighed and pouted and occasionally played with the ring on her left middle finger.
'Inside the bar, a dusky light blah blah blah,' she thought.
After a long half-hour in her own, admittedly poor company, she left the booth with an irritable energy, also payment and a bad tip.
Close to the door, she heard: "You buy one drink, that's all?"
The bartender, an eyebrow raised, stood regarding Sasha with equal parts curiosity and disdain. Tall, skinny, and of ambiguous age, he had the perpetually moving features of someone who was bored even as they were busy. She saw that he earned his keep, in part, by saying things like that to cheapskate customers like her, since
One Night StandI woke up when I heard the lid on my icebox creak open; then watched as, after having leaned forward with her breasts exposed to the cold air, she fashioned a top from some kind of sash. She reached down into the box, reflections flowing over it like caustics, pulled out a fish half her height, and bore it with a surprising amount of grace through my apartment's front door.
All I could think during this was how, moving astride me in the night, she had whispered from the darkness, "I don't understand this," in measured breaths. I don't either, I had wanted to say.
Two days went by before I caught myself thinking that I saw her as I went about town. In a spice shop on Maritime: a sudden flow of blond hair around the doorframe. Walking along Crescent Way: a face that could have been hers in profile beneath a sunhat, talking to someone out of sight, before a passerby obscured my view and the next moment I couldn't find her again. It wasn't long before I began to look for her. I would diver
Musical ChairsThree women.
Colourful LanguageThey talk blue. You see red.
Fan FicJohn punched Sherlock.
Sherlock detected animosity.
Ephemera.Try turning a gun inside out. See what happens.
Perhaps you will find love there, around the bullets,
or a story about love in a way you've never experienced,
but you somehow know exists.
Try turning a paper crane inside out, or a thousand.
See what happens. Reversed, they just make other animals,
butterflies that refuse to eat for an entire lifetime,
wounded elephants, and spiders that feast upon sunbeams.
Try turning your house inside out, like it has an eating disorder,
and purges your books and CDs and unwashed laundry onto your lawn,
the neighbor's lawn. See what happens when you try to talk it out of
destroying itself, tell it its windows are not too small, it's kitchen
not as big as it looks in that particular color.
Saw into your own skull and turn your brain inside out.
Is it dead-colored silly string beef?
Is it a litter of scattered Polaroids of your jumbled subconscious,
glowing brighter and brighter as they absorb daylight
Depressing Russian Literature.Guilt is a piano on top of you
instead of a man. Street noises
drain you like bleach on a rainbow.
Indecision becomes a washer & dryer
you can't stop putting things into
& taking things out of all through
a painful fluorescent night. The
brain becomes smoke, a hidden stash
of dark red cigarettes, dipped in
formaldehyde, waiting for you.
Depressing Russian literature
becomes your best friend & you
can't remember what it is like
to have a flesh & bone best friend,
a soft voice at the other end, someone to cough up
pounds of dirt and flashlights and floods with you.
Fun becomes self-destruction in the form of 47 grams
or too much coffee in the blood.
Death becomes a run-on sentence
wraps its arms around you, puts its
mouth all over a frozen horse.
Health becomes a science,
frightens you with its bones,
pulls at its skin like polyester.
Today is a miracle, & yesterday
was one too.
I want to write.At 4:30 in the morning
I race on my bike to your house.
I wear your T-shirt and sweat pants
so I don't get raped, and because I want
to bring your belongings back to you.
I crawl through
your open window
and think that someone could easily kill you
with a silencer and a black pillow and
you wouldn't even have time
to open your mouth to scream.
Then I say:
I love you.
I want to write a love poem about you.
The moon sparkles
behind the blinds
and I want to reach for your
dead hands and put them on
my throbbing sweating chest but sometimes
I fear that they are maybe made of clay
or are someone else's entirely.
I want to write a love poem about you.
I haven't slept since the pills I found in my pocket,
I couldn't sleep
I couldn't sleep I couldn't sleep it reminded me of when
I was a teenager I want to write a love poem for you.
You are sweeter than the honey,
than the fruit, than all
the women in the world.
How can something so sweet
crave someone so sour.
I want to write a love poem.
Piano PlayingI am a pianist
And you are my piano, dear.
I play minuets along your ribcage,
Write love songs on your arms,
And press your vertebrae like keys
To let soft chords fill the empty space.
Your hairs are the resounding strings,
Your lips are polished brass pedals
That make everything loud and soft at the same time.
Kissing you makes the whole world shift up an octave.
I am a pianist
And you are my piano, dear
So let's write a duet in the dark.
Rock Meautumn blunders in, clumsy
stiff fingers frosted still
by early winds, rocking trees
back and forth
red leaves splatter the ground
paint drops, hanging from drooping
branches, rotten fruit still litters the sidewalks
i head south for the fall with the ducks.
the train creaks like aching joints
there's a crow on
my windowsill, ruffling his feathers
the trees flash by
my ticket's got a hole in the middle
from being folded over and over
the crow says "summer ain't that great, Peach Girl."
i watch the sky and ignore his clicking black beak
"the autumn's gonna follow
right behind ya
'n turn the whole world red-yellow-red
at yer heels."
i know in a week
the only green left will be my sweater
holes in the elbows, stringy cuffs
but i waddle like a duck
towards the leftover southern summer.
"i'm not ready for jack frost yet."
i tell him.
"get ready. the autumn storms are a-comin'
an' there ain't nothin' on heaven or earth to stop 'em."
The Memory BoxShe locked her heart in a box as summer ended
And tucked it under her bed, in a nest of cobwebs
Waiting for winter to frost her eyes closed
For her long hibernation until heat spilled again
Through her bedroom window.
But as she lay down on silk sheets,
Hair cascading across her shoulders in an overflow
Of spring flowers and memories,
He appeared, standing over her,
Holding the box in his palm.
"Summer isn't over yet, my dear." He said.
"Autumn is turning the world orange,
And there's a butterfly waiting on your windowsill.
So let's pick sunflowers till sunset comes."
He reached out a hand, she took it.
The box clicked open, spilling out
Deep vermillion maple leaves,
Turning gold in the crisp sunlight.
They jumped out the window
In a swirl of gold and butterflies,
Into tangerine-coloured autumn.
She left the box on the windowsill
To fill with sunshine to keep her warm
During the glacial winter,
But she forgot it there for years and years.
She didn't need it, anyway,
Not with ochre autu
HarvesterHarvester of Lost or Possibly Forgotten
From you to the sky to the
Beast to the floor, we are
All one endless string.
All is the lost hound's shiver
Trotting down the city street. All is the grieving
Master, alone in a foyer chairhis
A headless man who stands in autumn leaves,
Tapping on a windowpane.
All is the reunion and the warmth of the fireplace.
At night, or if overcast is thick,
I reach into the Skulls and pull out the
And imbibe the murky time-forsaken
And daydream a day
When I'll need be a glowing stain on someone else's tongue.
Bunbury Parisian Apartment: 1900. Banished man of sick beyond repair, Sebastian self-reflects and then Connects with Oscar's sickly stare. Questions abound. Sebastian solely speaks:
I can sink
into recline with seeming
ease, like young Wilde in old
Reading Goal pages spread about my breast.
I sign it all Sebastian
grew blowzy, burst his
eardrum. His body though released
is branded, deeply burned with off-white prison stripe
and symbols of The Crown. Naked, clothed,
the baggy folds of clothflesh stretch
out to all
like sick yawns.
Spray Your Sins Away!It was a scene of utmost suspense, the cliché that often made its way into romantic comedies and commercials. Inside Dick's We-Carry-Every-Item-Imaginable-for-the-Filthy-Rich, two different people reached for the last can of Sins-B-Gone in cinematic slow motion. One hand was French-manicured and wore an ostentatious diamond ring (inscribed "Love forever, to my Richard"); the other had "Vermilion Vixen" nails and was likely to never wear such a wedding ring. Fingers from both hands closed in on the blue spray can like eager vultures, plucking it off the shelf in synch. Both ladies blinked in confusion before they realized the other was there.
"Sweetie, I believe I grabbed it first," said the Richard-loving woman.
"No dear," the Vixen replied, "I'm sure I did. I certainly need it more that you do."
The two women stared each other down without batting their fake eyelashes. It wasn't difficult for eitherBotox injections did wonders to their blank facades. The first
Crayon ChildYounger Me,
still fending off nightmares
with plastic swords
and MONSTER-B-GONE lights.
I was rarely gentle with you.
I blistered our hands with blacktop;
I choked our sandals with mulch.
Yet you remained untouched
by life's failures and faults,
only marred on the skin
by two frolic-scars.
There are seven chin stitches
from a monkey bar mishap,
and three on your upper lip
from disgruntled floor tiles.
But that never halted
your gap-toothed grins.
I fought by your side
during alien invasions,
where broccoli trees swayed
beneath the 1% lowfat Milky Way.
We cradled dirt-stained snowmen
that lasted weeks in the freezer,
and attacked Georgia fireflies
with an army of pickle jars.
I cried when we ate mushrooms
(they taste of rubber and disease)
but gorged on knock-knock jokes
(the cheesier, the better).
We scrawled our promises in crayon
because chalk never stayed;
we composed cricket concertos
and moonbeam serenades.
Dear muse... this is farewell,
we have waltzed the years away.
Epistles of A Rising SunTo Nihon,
A crane silhouetted
Wings against a rising sun
Birth to Tsunami
Wooden frames buckled and swept
My kin, I carry
Mountainous waves stretched
Extirpating the people,
The veteran land still stands
Fault lines cut throughdeep
You are still our land
Our homeland submerged
Sakura blossoms scattered
I will gather them
Our photos buried,
One day, it will sprout again
Softening our fall
Flowing freely here
From cracked teacups and tea leaves
Still, we will drink you
We cry beneath smiles
Fearful, trembling in silence
Our anodyne masks
A thousand cranes fly
Towards the rising sun, red, white
Grant us just one wish
Retraction of ChlorophyllLonger nights,
and shorter days,
Sinking towards the horizon,
the sun stretches itself against
pulsating veins retracting
from margins to petiole
Release Shattered stone vase
twin dragons among clouds,
thrown into the sun
Shack Shadowsspring shade -
a shy shroud of snow
Thaw spring thaw -
in my bootprints
June Haikuthon 30th dayJune 30
shy young girl -
a wildflower peeks
from a windy field
in no breeze
the slow bend of a grass blade
a flick of the cow's tail
- morning stillness
into my morning shade
- my honey-do list
perfect in the morning sun
-a sunday choir
an evening fog
fills the valley
- after the quarrel
my bloated pond -
a poem trickles
onto a new page
enduring drizzle -
an american beauty
the cool splash of ferns
on the path
riverside willow -
one lolling hand
from the canoe
wild strawberries -
the good things
she sees in me
near the solstice -
an old man slowly rises
from his rocker
midday sun -
my shaded cat
yawns a welcome
an east wind -
the underside of maple leaves
before the rain
countless dragonflies weaving
- a sale at the mall
rain soaked path -