The following is a series of 21 short poems that I wrote for Inktober, writing according to the daily prompt for three weeks. 

  1. Poisonous

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?


2. Tranquil

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



3. Roasted

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.


4. Spell

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.


5. Chicken

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.


6. Drooling

Something old

Something bridal

Something borrowed

Something primal

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.


7. Exhausted

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

Enchanted nights?


8. Star

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.


9. Precious

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?


10. Flowing

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.


11. Cruel

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.


12. Whale

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

Your loneliness

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.


13. Guarded

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.


14. Clock

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.


15. Weak

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,

Little man.

What are you so scared of, baby?


16. Angular

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.


17. Swollen

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.


18. Bottle

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

Unpleasant kisses.

Broken men kneel at this

Cathedral, the decorum so perfectly



19. Scorched

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.


20. Breakable

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

A crown.

And as you walk the scarlet carpet,

Don’t let them see it;

Not a single soul.


21. Drain

Paris in the rain, only good for

Dumb romanticism.

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.