Category Archives: Poetry

Summer’s End

Held within the tender palm

Of her sister, seldom seen

Did the brightest of them all

Feel the strength within her ween

 

Shudder, shiver, glow within

Shining bright against Autumn’s slow dance

The doe and the fawn found solace in last

Of warm days to come, and meadows to prance

 

A smile did cross Sister Summer at last

As meek Sister Autumn found strength to then stand

Her time had now come to lead the year’s cycle

The seasons together, to dance hand in hand

 

As Summer closed her eyes, so too did the sun

Its warm rays cooling as sky fled to night

Autumn turned away, but gave final glance

To the land stretched before her; a sister’s last light

Waking Giant

Swirling in the quiet coast

A frozen giant slumbers deep

Curled around her waking host

Creation’s vessel rising steep

 

Whipped by storm and crashing waves

Seared with flowing earth of fire

The island covers nature’s grave

‘Neath molten rock, the forest’s pyre

 

Wind to cloud, these ashen skies

Cloak the ocean’s hidden gem

Spewing hot the landscape’s rise

And bringing forth new life again

Immortal

Through cold eyes I gaze upon perfection,

And yet a sigh would deign to cloud my view.

How could such stagnant silver bear a god’s reflection

And yet still hold its burnished glow anew?

 

How could it capture once the me that was,

To throw before me now that which I’ve seen?

How could it bend most adamant of laws

And toss His plan to ravens while I preen?

 

The question’s pull grows dull once more,

The face of Heaven’s beauty drawn and droll.

For in this silver portrait of my core

I see a canvas more of paint than soul.

Brine

He should have drowned that night;

He knows this

Deep-down as the water goes.

His mother thinks the sea

Must have taken pity

On his poor sinner soul,

But he is unconvinced,

Says there’s no benevolence

In the dark and the deep-down.

The water still speaks to him–

Its voice hushed and delicate

As it beckons him home.

Some mornings he feels the tide still rising

In the back of his throat.

Last Call

You and I melt into one another

Like the ice in my highball glass

Just past 2 AM, when everything is hazy

And perfect, too heavy and too bright,

But still faultless, somehow:

Holding on to your fingertips in a crowded bar,

Giggling like we’ve just met,

Stage-whispering over the bad club remix

in our own secret language.

The Wreck

Like cloud astride the midnight sky

Their cold reflection in the deep

A lightless world, the silenced cry

Of ghosts of ocean’s muffled sleep

 

Swallowed by the silver crest

Of waves upon the moonlight cast

They failed the ocean’s bitter test

These sunken echoes of the past

 

Now rusted, crushed, made home anew

The victims of Poseidon’s wrath

Have found themselves a different crew

That lurk within the aftermath

Tarot

She tries to read her own future,

Cards laid out in front of her

On the table, like it’s

Her last meal on death row.

She searches franticly

Through the thin booklet—

The one that came with the cards—

Trying to find a real meaning.

The hanged man stares up at her

Dead-eyed and pleading.

For his sake, she re-shuffles the deck.

All Hallows

Photo from Zoella

Our first time, our parents pick

From four to ten we decide on

who every we choose to be

Then the lull of being cool sets in and we spend years not trying

When we become adults everything is sexy, even the simplest are sexy

No more mom to make them, no more dad to take us out

We never know how much will miss it till it’s too late

From treats at the door becomes beer and jungle juice

From trading candy with friends to making out in the corner

From the innocent princess to sexy police officer

What has Halloween become for college kids?

The Only Thing

“Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”

–Gloria Steinem

Photo from Clipart Library

 

There’s a sort of thrill

In a well-worn notebook

And a secluded corner

Scribbling out half-formed ideas

With ink stained fingers.

Don’t get me wrong—

Confidence is no friend of mine—

But in these moments

I almost feel it:

Like I could almost do anything

But I can definitely do this.

 

As I stare at a blinking line

On an empty word document that’s been open for hours

Trying to decide what order

That my thoughts should go,

So they fit perfect like puzzle pieces,

And maybe I’ll get it wrong

The first dozen or so times,

And everything I do is still singed with self-doubt.

But I realize,

There’s nowhere and nothing else that I’d rather be.

In a Quiet Moment

Photo from tagmagazine.com
Photo from tagmagazine.com

So many bodies melded by proximity
dancing close but still yet alone.

Bright red insecurity worn on your sleeve
like a nerve laid bare on purpose.

Telling yourself you’ve got it together,
a hurried mantra in stranger’s mirror image.

Sobering up under the beaming fluorescents—
sickly pale but you don’t know why.

It hits like a bullet in the temple
right beside where rationality lingers.

What does that hollow future hold,
and will there be assigned seats?

Not now, not now.
Can’t the revelation wait?

Glory Days

My mother asked if I miss High School

I told her, “Not really,”

What I wanted to say was,

Hell no

But I do miss piling seven people

Into a car that seated four on a good day

And praying that we wouldn’t get caught,

I miss my first creative writing class

God, it felt like a revelation,

I miss every over-wrought 3 am conversation

And how, for a moment, we thought we’d figured out

Every intricate detail of the universe,

I miss laughing too loud at all those in-joke we had

That hadn’t really been funny in the first place,

And I miss the people

I don’t talk to anymore

Because maybe proximity

was the only thing holding us together in the first place,

But I don’t miss High School, exactly.

Just the few paper-thin moments of glory

That are entangled in those four years

Which is not quite the same thing.

And then my mother asked

If I’d ever go to the class reunions,

And I said,

“Nah, probably not.”

Bureaucrapsychosis

Photo from Shutterstock

“psychosis, noun: a serious mental illness … characterized by defective or lost contact with reality…”

–Merriam-Webster’s Medical Dictionary

 

She might be beautiful if she’d smile,

Change her perfume from “Trying Too Hard.”

She slid a form across the counter—

Mahogany; everything there was mahogany—

So our hands couldn’t meet.

 

As I turned, I saw the counter’s edge

Where the veneer curled away,

Exposing plywood in unflinching fluorescence—

God forbid they put in a window—

I thought, “That’s the most honest thing here.”

 

I swear I glimpsed our world on that piece of tape:

Government center with an AC unit rattling somewhere overhead,

Streets, grocery stores, barber shops where customers—

That’s all they are in the grand scheme, really—

Prattle on politics, pay with plastic backed by green paper.

 

All hanging loose with no root in the veldt,

No grasp in grass with cricketsong,

Nor toe in shimmering lake—

Favoring corroded pipes running to parks—

Claiming victory as it’s bucked.

 

Could we meet in the veldt?

If I leapt from the street’s end,

Would you hold my hand—

Forget perfumes and forms—

Would you smile?

Live Bait

We had hours yet
before the sun would rise.
I was nine, maybe ten years old,
too young to fully appreciate a silent lake bank
and not having anywhere to be.
I shivered bone-deep in the early air.
My father said he was glad we could make it out–
Before all the tourists took the good spots.

A tiny electric lantern
shined a soft halo of blue light around us.
Dad smoked in stony silence
while I fumbled with my Disney-branded fishing rod.
I told him that I felt bad for the nightcrawlers
that we skewered onto the end of our hooks.
He said that sometimes he did too.

I reeled in a bluegill—
Nothing huge, but still—
My first ever catch with no assistance.
Dad asked if I’d like to keep it.
I told him my fishbowl wasn’t big enough.
He helped me get the hook out
despite the frantic thrashing.
I tossed it back into cold, blue-green water.
For a moment, I appreciated the silence.

We packed up just as the sun began to rise.
I could hear birds chirping in the background.
Dad handed me a Styrofoam cup—
Still half-full of fat grey earthworms.
“You can let them go, if you want.”
I dumped the cup out into a nearby patch of upturned earth
and watched the worms writhe their way out of sight—
Pretending that the birds wouldn’t get them.

 

 

Featured Image from Tennessee State Parks

Big Damn Beautiful World

When she finally takes off that

God-awful sweater her grandma made—

The one with the cross-eyed kittens,

Foreign fruits that might be apples,

And no sense of season or dignity—

That no one likes but she wears anyway

For Grandma’s sake—

 

When all that’s left is a thin, snowy shirt

Through which all is clear as ice-capped peaks—

Where the whisper of the river climbs unfettered

Over trembling blushes of leaves,

Cupped palms of valleys,

And undressed trees yielding to the breeze

To rest at the summit and roll back down—

sweater
“She finally takes off that god-awful sweater her grandma made.” Photo from: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/91/9a/91/919a9144344e1996f967fc1cea459840.jpg

When she can dance without being whipped by knitted sleeves,

Exposing her teeth as a smile spreads—

The stars peeking through bare limbs

Where the crisp night sky cradles them,

Lays them down on the grass—

She cries out in delight

For this big damn beautiful world.

Like Nihilism, but Less Depressing

depressed
“I find a sort of comfort in the idea of a chaotic, unknowable cosmos.” Photo from: http://academyofideas.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/nietzsche-caspar-david-friedrich-468×375.jpg

When I was younger, it terrified me
To look at the universe as some brutal, uncaring thing.
I expected it to be organized and meaningful
Like all the little quirks
Mom expected me to grow out of.
(Neither I nor the universe
Ever lived up to expectations.)

I don’t worry over fate quite so much, anymore.
Now I find a sort of comfort
In the idea of a chaotic, unknowable cosmos.
It’s like realizing
That the prison walls are cardboard,
That the steel bars can crumble in my grasp.

Maybe there is some unseen structure to it all,
But maybe there isn’t.
Maybe it doesn’t matter—
At least, not the way I thought it did.

Radio Rust Valentine

My poems are shit.
My face ain’t much, either.
Meet me tonight
By the FM receiver?

The signals are mixed,
The liquor is steady.
Should you bring Hell,
Know my liver is ready.

We’ll put on a record
Of Coltrane or Davis,
Stare at the stars
With our heads on the pavement.

radio
“We’ll put on a record of Coltrane or Davis.” Photo from: https://grahamdunningreagarden.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/radio02.jpg

As horns fade away
To crickets and crankshafts,
I’ll read you Poe
As your lips recite Plath.

And when you walk off
Across the old levee,
I will not ask
So you can’t reject me.