Two Girlarium sonnets:
My mouth is a bowl full of pitted cherries. My stomach the bucket for all the swallowed bloody pits. Every word tastes sweet and dark and tart on my tongue, rolling against my blushing cheeks. And when I smile, red love dribbles down my chin.
When I speak, I am tempted to sing like the way the bright pink blossoms burst into bloom in the springtime. The air is fragrant with love and sweetness and honeybees. But at the lightest breeze, fragrant with daffodils and shadows, my flowers fall
in clusters trembling, and I remember the splinters in the black bark of the cherry tree, the amber sap dripping down the exposed inner rings. The long weeping, the unfurling of flowers. And while the axe is out of sight I fear for other trees, and my branches still shake hearing lightning Continue reading “Two Poems by Kate Dlugosz”
this song makes your kisses so wet
pull the moon out just to watch me win again
cover me in sleep and ticket stubs
and message sent
i was better when my haircut was so tom petty ‘89
i knew all i needed from open pages on your floor
remember sketchbook boy with the nice lips
when intentions only tried to find us
the overestimation that
we weren’t dumb enough to return
again & again & again
a cement truck tipped off on your street
centripetal forces and spells broken
i’m so loose after that fever left
pull the moon out to see my shower filled with wristbands and beer cans
this trajectory doesn’t promise much but when i glance up i receive enough vindication to continue
and enough light to see my name on endless married middle-aged women full of regret or curiosity or boredom or
sometimes i’m sitting in front of a horizon 5pm to 7pm lovingly watching a water skier all poised all shore to shore like it’s the most natural thing and i ask my soul if she would still know smoke signals even if neither she nor anyone else at a reasonable distance could possibly decipher them
I am setting out on this water not to drift but to row, since this not loving you has drawn from me almost as much as loving you once did, and nothing is as full as a boat by itself in a sea that does not end.
II. Barn Ruin
We found it at the edge of the woods that August you wouldn’t touch me, just a skeleton of walls and poison ivy climbing all the way to the caved-in roof, triple leaves bigger than hands and glossed to the point of dripping, and it was almost pretty, all those edges hooked against each other, baring back a tessellated light, just as long as we didn’t come close.
I was not afraid you would hurt me, but that you never would, that you would never even peer between these ribs I’ve hinged apart for you, until the wind will do to me what it does to all soft creatures left behind by the tide, and the only sound my throat can make will be the sound of robin nests unraveled in a storm.
I fall in love with every girl I float by next to on the street. I was born to die, and, though everyone is, God must hate me. My skin is made of the thinnest material. It resembles bubble-wrap. I’m bumpy: a translucent boy opaque, cloudy, with lust. I’ve been punctured before. All my hot air, all my inner workings, pour out like confessions. I’m absurd and yet I want what everyone else wants. I had a date the other night with a girl with eyes like needles. She probed my life and found nothing but wrinkles. She hasn’t called. If I ever feel the pressure of a pair of lips, the fingers dangerous along my malleable spine, the soft, rose quiet of pleasure and the death at its end, I think I might die anyway. I can’t hold scissors and run. I can’t hold anything too beautiful for too long because I know, if I trace its edges, I can die; then again, I feel this should be a common thing. People might consider the way it changes us, if more people were murdered by the sharpness of beauty.
When you converted to vampirism
you took me with you like a schoolgirl crush
and renamed me in her image. You carried your
halo well—a wisp of cloudlight through the pub
window when you told me I belong in the chapel
of bones, that making a pilgrimage to the town
built on death would suit my medieval fixations.
But with ink held under our tongues like cyanide
– Camus, Pessoa – we hadn’t grown up. Your voice
was a needle skip around a pistol grip, while I cider-
drenched wraiths only I could see. We based ourselves
on bloodstains, never let on we’d sunbleached them to dust;
we never let on these winding sheets were lifted
from a well-mannered airing cupboard, the emperor’s
new shrouds – hiding inside them with hearts that still beat.
I am small in the sea, pushed around
by waves that care not for any grain of sand
or stuff that floats in old men’s heads.
Arms held wide and high, that reach and cling
like a child to a parent when things get rough,
when routines fail and muscles waste.
I hesitate, recoil, cower; skin so thin
these cold water blades could spill these guts
for waiting gulls and wash away this name.
I am caught like the sun, falling
and hoping to rise again, the horizon watched
from a base of arched feet, soft soles and toes
exposed to the hidden sharpness of shadows.
And though these whispered sea breezes,
with caresses would show the way,
for that bastard time waits not for me,
until I learn to surrender, immerse this body,
allow these legs to float and lay back this head,
could I ever take in the whole of the sky?
Even if you were not born yet
the matter from which you were made
is in this picture
and I cannot decide if this means
that nothing really matters or that
Sunday morning silence.
contemplating an unaccompanied cosmonaut.
Left in lunar orbit
to keep the systems running
while Armstrong and Aldrin are Moon-bound, Glory-bound
Collins loses all communication with the Earth
and takes a snapshot.
No earthly loneliness could match such isolation
sometimes I feel like the sole survivor of a mission that failed
and I never even got the chance to walk on the Moon.
It’s still early
you’re through with work now
you go home and the streets are crowded with passers-by
there is like the deafening sound of a song in the headphones over your ears that isolates you more or less from the others
so you take off the headphones
but it is not you that I see in the street
but a stranger
and I don’t know if I am dreaming or not
as you have deserted me
so I don’t care anymore about anything
and I walk back home like a ghost Continue reading “Three Poems by Ivan de Monbrison”
you pray for the cure at dawn whilst the light melts off your skin.
Icarus, hopeless bird-child,
you put a knife in your back, twist,
fall off a bridge to vex the sun, tranquil.
It is meaningless
whatever you decide to do.
Shame clouds your judgement now, it consumes you as
you feed on your soul, always: search for the heart.
Thoughts destroy structure —
on a moonless night, with two dark stars,
they are the makers of the world.
Our parents were
not perfect but they qualified.
Unwrapped an egg every third June
and found a fresh baby the following spring.
For the rest, Mother relied on The Joy of
Cooking, Similac and Dr. Spock. Dad’s double-
starched dress greens. Precise and crisply
calibrated rules. Yellow JELL-O our standard
bone-and-hide treat. Annual portions
of Betty Crocker meted from any birthday
hopes we could pour neatly into a nine-inch pan.
A home that ran on time and solid logic, not some wild
moment’s unexpected demands. Nine rooms, all safe.
All quiet. Childhood without a care. Funny,
that I once believed we somehow shared
a superior brand of family
rites. I ate it up head-first, the hollow
bunny who gave its only chocolate life
to sweeten our spic-and-span Easter feast.
(And weren’t they healthful, those boiled
carrots? Weren’t they dependable, those
finely-grated feelings and well-peppered fears?)
Forty years later, Mother still tries.
The kitchen calendar says MARCH
so she hustles to baptize the fresh baby
asparagus to mush. She forks a ham
before our childless eyes. Hacks
with knob-fingered vigor at its unnaturally-pink
cloved flesh. Half-blind, she still rises
to measure every oinking slice. She will die vying
for control of all the mashed notions of the perfect
adults she’s somehow gathered
we have become.
The Body Broken
Mass and Sunday mourning pass the chancel black
and chalice-back of I, spire-spined and last to part
my plumping bud to take the nocturne wine. Mine
the softly hills, mine the spill and steeple-swing
of fruiting breasts and bells, yes. We break the bread
and bless. Lady in the lancet holds the apple mocking red.
Dappled chant and dark, ahead the blood-bright night
and first-light glass of gasping Eve, winter’s heave
hangs always here with heads that bow before the vow
to never grieve the leaving eyes of youth. Truth
is lost and winterworn. Borne away on snarling winds,
the greening drop of spring falls from my hair. The cleric’s
cloak is a darkly thing. My deeper, deeper throat
receives the gloaming sermon there, heir of the berry
dreamt to burst in his hand. Damn the vestal
up-and-swung of lust that Woman loved, budblood
and the Garden singing skin and pink bouquets, but
turn the tongue beyond the Book and in the darkest
places hold the harvest fruit and look above and long
to lasting-touch the apple that is loathed so much.
Such is Sunday mass and curse of we, the curled
Madonnas kneeling with a screaming in our skirts.
The weakly bread we break and nurse. And vow and
kneel and slaughter one more godless book of verse.
It really messed me up, it did. For months after my discharge, even the sound of my own farts would send me, you know, wherever it was I went. I would just freeze up. Go into a kind of dead-face trance. I was a big lad back then, and it was difficult for people to get me moving again once I’d stopped. So I’d end up staying there for a while like, in the street, wherever, just staring at the grey clouds on the horizon. At one stage, it got so bad that when I was offered a job at the local arcade – one of them bandit places – my counsellor practically begged me not to take it. She said the flashing lights and the noise of the coins dropping would be too much for me to handle. She made it sound like I’d end my shift fitting on the mucky carpet there, like some sort of fucking fish. But I had to give it a try. It was the only job offer I’d had since landing back on civvy street, and staying in the house all day with my parents tip-toeing nervously around me, well that was sending me another kind of crazy. I was starting to feel like one of them fucking bombs I was so Continue reading “Charon’s Amusement Arcade by BR Williams”
The offices merge, and the
dinners and the nights out.
Even, embarrassingly, the aunts
and the children of friends.
But never the sunrises.
Each one mapped distinctly
across my veins
like a new and still-blossoming love.