at the wheel (20180102)

the heart is
a driver in a hurry
who takes shortcuts
who has mistaken the gps map
for the territory
who fails to signal
when changing lanes
brakes [breaks]
suddenly
ignores stop signs
posted speed limits
maximum speed limits
road hazards
never knows who goes first
at a four-way stop
guns it through the intersection
on a stale yellow
merges poorly
cuts off
flips off
offramp shoulder surfs
is night blind
is always under the influence
is always running late
is always driving facing the rising sun
is always driving facing the setting sun
always falls asleep at the wheel

no warning (20171023)

a bone will creak
before it breaks
much like a dried branch
stepped on in summer
that makes the birds
go silent

but muscle

say
–a heart, for example–

will make no sound before
shattering like glass

or perhaps it is beyond
human hearing

——

for
dVerse ~ Poets Pub
Quadrille #43: creak

tattle (20171022)

layer by layer
i will open the old man up
and we’ll see
if he keeps that smile
plastered on his face
we’ll see
if the light finally goes out
in that ruined eye
we’ll see
if he kept his heart in his body
like a good boy
or
if he stashed it away
in the walls
or
under the floorboards

transparency (20170923)

that kid behind
the deli counter
runs the meat
snick snick
against the whirling
blade
shaving off paper-thin
slices of my feelings
wrapping them in white
paper
–white except for he gets blood on it–
and sells it to me by
the ounce
always rounding up
to the quarter pound

i keep coming back
waiting for the butcher
to run out
but he always has a thick
fat-marbled dome
ready for the machine

i will read
the evening’s news
through transparent sheets
of myself

unread letters (20170709)

i found your blood
in a red-stained envelope
waiting in my mailbox
throbbing like an organ

the thickened state of it
surprised me though

i thought it would be more akin
to ice water than a
hot, swirling pudding of
reds and browns

easy enough to take a pen
and write
–but carefully
so as not to puncture–
[return to sender]
and lift the heart-red flag
to alert the postman

i didn’t have a letter opener, you see
and i was out of stationery and
razor blades
for a proper reply

strings (20170706)

i am stretched thin as a hair

speak to me and i vibrate
a single guitar string
in the cosmos
tying star to star
humming one note

if i were more
i would be a minor chord
complete and harmonious
yet melancholy even among
the celestial furnaces

stretched thin as a hair
tying star to star
if a fuse
i would burn
my embers meeting
in the middle of all things

not enough heat, not enough pressure (20170204)

blacken your heart, dear
take those cold ashes
from the hearth, flames dead
like a field mouse in winter

blacken your heart, dear
mix the soot with tears
remember every slight
every gaze that passed over you

blacken your heart, dear
swallow that thick paste
wash it down with past shame
and feel it settle in your stomach

blacken your heart, dear
let that darkness spread
but remember this–not every
piece of coal becomes a diamond