The following is a series of 21 short poems that I wrote for Inktober, writing according to the daily prompt for three weeks.
Won’t you find her? Fingernails curled
Into her palms, brittle bones
Drenched in black. Won’t you wait the
Unsung night with her? Suck the poison
From the corners of her eyes
And the hollows of her neck
And the crimson crescent moons in her hands—
Everywhere her tears have touched—
Would you do that for her?
Some wait like a stone in the pond just
Letting things tumble and happen just
Breathing and sitting and smiling
Slightly and always slowly.
It’s a sight, those some.
I see them and I sigh
It seemed a more definite way out.
The coherence of disaster is more satisfying
Than rambling goodness, and all that
I’ve always loved the burnt parts of food.
I take an attraction to scraps.
So when I burnt my locks off,
I didn’t think of throwing them out.
A magical time this must be.
Souls lifted out of solid bodies from
The streets, eyes hypnotized onto
Which gleam like a lover’s shoulder.
Enchant me fraught, we beg,
Tear my mind to pieces. It’s a plea.
We will worship in return.
For what could be more Godlike?
Invisible, infinite, irresistible.
There are times when I think I need
Real love or a million dollars or
Some transformative grounding of the
When I only need the
Sacrifice of some domestic porridge
Served in a wooden bowl with a
Kind wooden spoon and some
Shredded chicken to drown in the rice.
Touch the tip of your tongue
Against the back of my neck
Before we walk the aisle
Tomorrow— it will be a promise
Of the intimate and mundane.
The fairies only strike at the splitting
Edge of consciousness. The twilight
Right before my lashes flutter shut,
That ethereal matrix, a second self.
I write curling oceans from my veins,
Sing this world chromatic. And the
Morning will come with its tranquil
Mortality and blades of bare sobriety—
And how foolish now were those
There’s only one tonight; how strange
It looks without company. The
Solitary glow gives way to the dark
So shyly. And that resembles me so,
I begin to shed tears for my life
and this vastness
And I, too, submit to the dark.
Can there be such ugliness like this?
Mama called me her jewel, holding
My tiny body with her naivete. Only
Years before she realized I did not have
Her beauty. She laced her fingers over
Her delicate mouth at the sight of her
Legacy murdered in my bed.
She clutched at my hair, said baby,
Baby, where is my jewel gone?
Hit the coffee. Let it hit you. Slam
Yourself back into time, that liquid
Ghost. It has trickled by while you let
Your dreams distract you. Don’t.
This river only flows from high to
Low, and you’re no salmon. There’s
No defying its unrequited love-chase
For the future.
If I gouged my eyes out, there’d be
Less reason to hate myself. To look is
To make a million judgements. There’s
Nothing crueler than you, God, and
The way you made me;
There’s nothing crueler than me
And my cigarette-smoke thoughts.
The sea’s surface like a showgirl’s curtain;
You only let us see so much. Some say
There is a lightness in your songs, but
I know that’s no music. I’m in love with
And how you only call to your own kind.
How you dance so blue. All your skin might be
Crying and no soul would know.
I’d go buddhist to be reborn as one of
You. Strip gravity from my body and
Let the cold stroke my skin.
A little “fuck” scrawled onto the test divider.
A little “fuck” running through someone’s
Electric-engine mind. Paper folders screening eyes
From secrets whispered onto white.
Answers. Answers— to questions. Completion.
Closure. A consummation of the circle.
This silence sits in the most intense of
Battles— make no mistake,
There’s bloodshed here.
The white rim chases its own tail.
Circle, the infinite curve. Keep
Tricking me, won’t you? That you’ll go
Round and round with no end.
That you’ll indulge me in this dance
Forever; I’d swallow it all.
And I pray your long, unwinding
Tentacles will let me go
When they do.
The Mother in me laughs a little,
Tittering at the steely green
Lashing from your eyes.
You tilt your face away from
Baby birds and the softness of
Satin, a clumsy left hand
Batting at the mist. Like a cat pawing something
It does not understand. Oh,
What are you so scared of, baby?
Why your room must contain so much
Metal, I would not know. I guess I should
Make sense of it collectively. The
Flick of your gaze. The upturned angle
Of your lips. That stainless-steel coffee mug.
It leaves a ring on the table, you know.
You don’t know.
And now it’s another evening
And you’re coming home
Soon, so soon, and I know the
Foreign air will drift in behind you
And trail its fingers along my back.
I can’t keep the laughter from me. Or the
Tears. I am a
Vessel for the world to pour out of.
I think I love you. I don’t know it.
The realization is overbearing and I am
A crackling handful of stars, scattered over
This black linoleum floor. Perhaps
If I dig my nails in and break the skin
Over this swelling tumor,
The eternal guilt will somehow release
Herself, make me forget
I care about you less than you do me,
Do it and do it regularly,
So it never heals.
The green translucent surface,
Like stained glass. Glass
Stained with man’s chemicals,
The scent’s teeth sunken into
The bottle, clinging, condescending.
It’ll rub off on coat collars and
Broken men kneel at this
Cathedral, the decorum so perfectly
No candy, Josie. That’s useless. No
Umbrellas— running will work fine.
No ashtrays. No wasting money.
Daddy doesn’t need ashtrays.
Just let the table take it, the
Scorching abuse, the mouth-watering
Sizzle and blackened time.
Let it be and lie, listen, silently.
When a slightly
Superior smile slides its fangs across
Your surface, try your damned
Hardest not to cry. Protect those
Crystalline branches; weave them into
And as you walk the scarlet carpet,
Don’t let them see it;
Not a single soul.
Paris in the rain, only good for
We walk the lonesome cobblestone
And stop at mundane sights
Like real lovers. I step
A little faster than you. I stare at the ground
To step on the prettier stones
And talk my insides into you
And you let your blank self
Be all painted over.
I’m sorry. This is all you’re good for,
Like Paris in the rain.