untranslatable (Poem 20160430)

when we meet again after a long time
i am convinced you have gone native
–as my dad would have said–
from living in a foreign country

even though

you’ve gone nowhere
distance becomes a function
of the passing of time
space itself an illusion when
divorced from the ticking clock

you open your mouth to speak
but all i hear is that place
between two radio stations
you have forgotten
how to use your own voice
you have forgotten
how to speak english

i’m sorry, i say, i don’t speak
knives anymore
i show you my scars
–now thick and no longer pink–
to prove it


National Poetry Month
NaPoWriMo Day 30

that one time (Poem 20160429)

i remember waking in my crib screaming
and holding a toy animal on my head

i remember being stung by a bee and my brother
putting a bandage on my finger
over the bee

i remember my sister launching me from her feet
and flying into the brickwork of the fireplace
striking just below my eye

i remember santa’s red suit one christmas eve
when i was supposed to be asleep but snuck out
of my room, catching him by the fireplace

i remember seeing the ghost of my grandmother’s
mother when i was supposed to be taking a nap
and my grandmother shushing me, though she saw her
pale faced in the doorway too

i remember collecting red ants barehanded
with my brother for an ant farm
and being stung again and again

i remember waking up to a bed shaking
beneath me and the guttural sounds of voices
in a room that was too dark to see clearly
but not too dark to see

i remember my mom’s small dog speaking to me
in plain english though i do not remember
what he said


National Poetry Month
NaPoWriMo Day 29

the river (Poem 20160428)

urging us forward
the breath of the ancient river on our backs
we stepped back from the ledge
we stood closer together
at this great height
gigantic but now reduced to a trickle
moving blindly
but like something ancient
the river twisted not like a snake
we looked down into the chasm


National Poetry Month
NaPoWriMo Day 28
Reverse Story

spit (Poem 20160427)

god squeezed the universe out of a tiny tube, like toothpaste prepared
for a giant’s bedtime. white and gritty and smelling strongly of mint,
the universe spread out, frothing and foaming making and breaking down
the plaque that wasn’t until the toothpaste made it so. now we’re all
just waiting for the inevitable sound of the cosmic faucet
and the great rinse


National Poetry Month
NaPoWriMo Day 27
Long Lines

lost at sea (Poem 20160426)

sound the bell, and tell my darlin’
your darlin’ is lost, your darlin’ is lost

weigh the anchor, and string her pearls
her pearls are lost, her pearls are lost

strike the sail, and blow me home
your home is lost, your home is lost

pipe me ashore, and let me kiss her
your kisses are lost, your kisses are lost

find a star, and steer me to it
your stars are lost, your stars are lost

take my heart, and feed the sea
your heart is lost, your heart is lost


National Poetry Month
NaPoWriMo Day 26
Call and Response

let us go (Poem 20160425)

let us go then you and i
nought left for us here but a sky
devoid of stars and divine intervention
the sounds we hear
voices far and near
bind our skins like a suture
ghosts from an hour yet future

you will have my tongue peeled
and i will follow you, well-heeled
through alleys of denied ascension
while evening falls
we hear the calls
of prayers to a moon
gone forever too soon

later we retire to our room
a sweet-scented, well-appointed tomb
we will carve each other in amber suspension
toiling the night
and at our height
delighting in the flesh we flay
as there will be no break of day


National Poetry Month
NaPoWriMo Day 25
Borrowed First Line

assorted ruminations (Poem 20160424)

the secret, the corpulent old pater familias
said, scratching his gut, is in keeping your
fidus achates close and your nemeses even closer

how i wish you would speak plainly, i said
you treat words as if you were struck
by some demiurgic fit

pulchritude in language is a gift, he wheezed
you should not treat your conversations as if
your words emerged from a bag of rocks
quarried from some vulgar site

i laughed at this
alack and alas, i said, i only asked for change
for the parking meter


National Poetry Month
NaPoWriMo Day 24
Mix and Match


the secret keeper
Weekly Writing Prompt #33
(5) Words: | PLAIN | LAUGH | SITE | ROCK | SECRET |

the cat in the sonnet (Poem 20160423)

so, sonnets are poems and are about
romance or love or some other such stuff
not sure i can write one, i’m filled with doubt
and love is so silly, a big bunch of fluff
and who reads these things these days anyway?
high school kids with books for brains, ultra nerds
in poetry class looking for a lay
while grinding out some steaming, rhyming turds
well, i suppose that i could chance my hand
isn’t it shakespeare’s birthday, after all?
whatever i write couldn’t be as bland
as the crap i’ve read on the bathroom wall
time to get busy and lay down some rhyme
oh, son-of-a-bitch, i’ve run out of time


National Poetry Month
NaPoWriMo Day 23

green green green (Poem 20160422)

green green green
let the whole world
be covered in green
let moss cover my skin
an emerald beard
and a fine head of hair
(how i miss my hair)
let me bathe in algae-filled
ponds and be so slick
with mud that the leeches
will look elsewhere for a meal
let flowers fall
from my mouth
and bees circle my head
let hummingbirds
dart in and out of my ears
seeking nectar
and let me green
and let me be watered
and let me sink roots
into the earth


National Poetry Month
NaPoWriMo Day 22
Earth Day