No Bed of Roses
To distract us from horrible numbers
I wear this hat. It’s wide as a plate, full of roses and birds,
a platter in red and white, and thin as a peel of sunburned skin.
You can see right through it. The birds fly around it
and nest and do all the bird things. You can watch
my hat instead of the news of the horrible numbers
who populate all of our nightmares
disturbing our rest, I say rest because who
still sleeps? after all that has happened.
The birds, though, they sleep. They sleep
among the roses encircling my large plate of a hat,
the hat thin as reason, thin as a thought of compromise,
and wide as all one person can do to avoid
knowing certain things. Wide as a sea of forgetting
the horrible numbers, wide as loss, as much loss
as one small person can carry upon a hat,
even a hat as wide as mine. Ah, the roses.
They have such a lovely scent, it keeps me
awake at night. Let them, I say. Let them.
For Coffee With Thanks
Waking up waking up
coffee for this citizen,
let coffee civilize away
the night wilds, the dreamshards
tangled in my hair,
let coffee gentle
the ragged morning stumbles
of this reluctant citizen
of such a wrecked and oozing
sore of a wretched world
oh, coffee for my soul to ponder
the darker bitter of what will surely
bring itself to our attention this day,
among so many massacres, this day
of busy doings in the service
don’t think about where it comes from,
the toil and damage, ruined soil
the lives made short by harshing cost
benefit analysis — oh it says “Fair Trade”?
Well then that’s okay, right?
Citizen. Hush. Drink
your coffee. Take this medicine of the earth
and of this time on the earth.
Take and be glad.
Say thank you to the coffee berries
and the bushes that bear them,
to the hands that pluck, the skill
that dries, the water that flows and boils — oh, all that, yes,
thank you to it. Shake off that last dream, citizen.
Go forth because there’s nowhere else to go.
May you find it.
“all the little neighborhood fascists”
Let’s be sure to tell the lie correctly.
The weight of the soul equals
the weight of hot air expelled from the lungs
or in the breath whether truth
Let’s measure to find whether
a lie weighs more or less.
How hot is a lie, how cool
is the truth? Or rather,
how iced must you be
to pretend your truth so heatedly
that leaves wither and flowers
drop from their bracts?
Where is the fire? Where is the
holy cross of burning houses
down to the church doors? Where
is the fuel of it? Inside the mouth
of the lie, the heat is so fierce
one must spit to live
but to live one must pretend
to be so icy cool
while putting out that fire
that consumes from within.
Oh Death where is thy
icecube tray of souls? Those who
just couldn’t hold it any longer,
who spewed hot death out in
words of fatal flaming falsehood?
They are here, child, replies Death,
and as an elder god I advise you
not to melt them free.
Rather let them drip away as they will
when the power fails
in their final storm of Heaven
sure to come.
Kyla Houbolt lives and writes in Gastonia, NC. Her current work can be found at @luaz_poet | Linktree. When she’s not writing she is usually found gazing into treetops, trying to come to terms with all she’s seen. You are welcome to follow her on Twitter @luaz_poet.
Banner Image by Robert Frede Kenter @frede_kenter