the trees surround and scratch you
poke into the whites of your eyes
suspicious and accusing
will you be the next to
use our flesh as kindling?
are you the girl who peeled the
thin skin from the white birch?
day 17she dreams of the pink swing set under a canopy
of leaves, shoes brushing colours of autumn
of mud slicked steps, rusted spoons and clear
plastic forks turned opaque from grimy hands
of lard-filled jars and broken glass,
glittering teeth hidden beneath tree shadows
of scratchy hay poking ankles and, below, sharp
metal just peeking through faded itchy yellow:
day 3you said: there is just
something about myths.
i thought there's just
something about your lips.
tell me the myths of
your sleepy hometown
and the truths of hands
held proud in public.
i'd like to learn the
stories of your skin,
the loud silence of
heartbeats and bed sheets.
you don't sit beside me in class anymoreyou look like oversized sweaters waiting for
mr darcy vapid vanilla shows up late to
class with coffee cheeks flushed from cold
(but there's more than meets the eye. i like
the flush of your cheeks and last week i
wondered if you bite lips or lick them; if
you'd change my mind on holding hands)
gone is your floral perfume soft breathing
arm brushing mine proximity pulsing legs
crossing blurry profile in peripheral
(but now i almost like it better this way. it's
easier to follow concentration as it moves
along your features and i have always been
more comfortable with distance anyway)
lost in space1
there were words once, listen:
quiet, soft, like fingers brushing over the fabric of a sweater, tickling your ear, warming, small gusts of heat that spread to your toes, a glinting eye, a curved mouth, a promise.
there were words once, listen:
hard, rough, like metal scraping over concrete, bruising, marking your arms, legs, ribs, even your spine, purple and black blossoming on dark skin, yellowing until silence, an apology.
there were words once, listen:
now there are no words, only the deafening roar of silence.
there are words now, listen:
the old stars whisper to each other. they have discovered the secret of patience, a conversation lasting the ages. a single word may take years upon years to travel and you have to know which way to send it. careful, precise, or you may tell a stranger you miss them.
you can hear the sound of these words, like fast cars on a track, restless and enduring. the faster they travel, the slower time moves, slowing rapidly until it sto
sharp nailsthere is a pattern of
veins on my right thigh
that looks like the long,
blue bones of a hand
sometimes these thin,
spindly fingers crawl
up my veins and
arteries to clasp around
my heart, tug on the
back of my eyes,
dotting and blacking
they scrape the nervous
system and i think i
used to pray to settle
from 3429 ft.two years ago from paris, saskatoon looked like a small solar system, hazy with rain and cold. three days ago from toronto, it is midday and foggy, a thick blanket of grey masking tiny grey buildings cut by a tiny grey river. but the feeling is the same and i want to reach across the aisle to hold my sister's hand much the same as two years ago, russell reaching for my hand, any hand, two changed souls unprepared to face the sameness of home.
but the feeling is not the same. we are not two changed souls: we are just happy ones, 'satisfied with the trip' ones, and i do not hold hands when i am happy.
may 3i press tissue paper to the skin
above my ankle, apply pressure,
try not to think about the red and
searing and the itch in my hand.
i decide i want to cover my body in
ink, beautiful and expensive.
my grandmother asks me why i
want a tattoo.
i tell her, "i think they're
five years of thinking pass.
birds fly across my wrist and i trap
beautiful and expensive.
reverberationshey skinny boy, you walk like you know where you're going
and when you kiss me, i don't know what to say
( and it sort of
reverberates between us, doesn't it? )
parenting 101when our children wake up screaming in the middle of the night
or crawl into our beds, we have a list of reassurances:
"it was just a nightmare" and
"it was just the shadows" and
"it was just your imagination"
until they, too, are desensitized and locked in a cage,
condition themselves to be blind and sane like the rest of us
-In the endless tranquil forest,
Hidden by the shadows beneath the leaves,
I smile; at peace with the world,
As your corpse smiles back at me...
ElenaElena followed me home
from work one night
and stayed for tea and eggs,
and all that minimum wage
and wars between the sheets
She said she was a goddess,
daughter of a carpenter
with her long red, red hair
and eyes as warm as hazel nuts
on Christmas morning.
Her hands spoke braille
across my back
and made the silence
of Sunday into a prophecy.
She left one October
just like she said she would
when the fireflies
had turned their wings to ash.
And I found revelation
in red, red wine
and cheap red, red fabric
that came off in my hands
Finding HappinessShe's burning up like a suicide note
And upon it's legacy lines
Scribed in crimson ink
Is all her little curios of happiness.
Before misery waddled up,
Knocked over her correction fluid;
Erasing all her joy in a blink.
There's a tape recorder by her side
Skipping a death tone melody;
The silence she hides inside.
Should she stop.
Wipe her days of self-pity and hate
Until she can record a new song
Upbeat to a happy tune of fate.
By her crumpled flat dress,
Glares wild, her knife and her pills,
Though the sight macabre
Only sets her heart ablaze to chills.
Serrated metal to barcode in
A reminder of all her undying pain
And the dark she kisses within.
Numb, she knocks back medicine,
Her bus stop on the highway of life.
Faltering she drops lipstick blade and
To an honest mirror she turns...
What ever happened to
The smiling girl?
What ever happened to
Her innocent future?
Tears fade to a calm stare
Which unravels a soulful grin;
A u-shape of acceptance
To new challenges she mus
lines for rae armantroutFor instance, an old oak grove
And to you, Rae, because what appears
is always the cosmic cascading bodies,
torched and tumbling,
and someone screaming evacuate-
meaning rebuild, re-haunt.
Reading about the experiment,
it became evident-
the traffic of moans,
crowds of shadows standing
in the peripheral,
a sense of expectation and dread.
This is how death comes in poems:
The last campfire in the distance goes dark.
I'm too poor to feel so middle class.My teeth still ache from the dentist,
but it doesn’t stop me from nibbling
the cheese danish I bought at Kroger
this morning, warmed by thirty
seconds in the microwave. My mug
of hot chocolate is too big, and I
drink it all. The washer is on its last
cycle; the cat is purring at my feet.
Netflix is background noise
to clacking keys, typing a transcript
of middle class morning that I’ll later
call a poem or a turning point,
wondering when I became such an adult.
to the ghosts with you, my deari came not to be kissed,
or to have myself cradled
in the curve of a throat,
but to be broken,
to be diminished
by your lack of affection
& over indulgence of sexualization.
uneducated in your intent,
found myself left entirely whole
& incapable of the fury
i had sought to sow between the
ridges of my aching ribs.
the polar opposite of translucencycradled in the echo
of a cloudburst,
the earth curls invisible fingers
about my achilles' tendon
she cries that i am not
intended for the clouds,
that my mind must not wander
between their susurrous concaves
furious with her insistence,
untether myself from the soft,
diaphonous comfort of the heavens
down into the weight of gravity.
listless green blades welcome my soles,
stimulating a tickle,
a sneeze; i never have done well
she is calling for me,
soft-tongued and crisp in her
& i am sorely tempted
i am not for the soil.
she becomes my inhale;
my alveoli shudder
beneath her force--
i am not for the air, either.
i stand beneath her onslaught
until she tires,
her molten heart beating beneath my toes;
unable to woo me with her facets,
cloaking me in one last attempt,
a final shadow.
my pores bloom
& i r
Thy Fallen AdamO father, thou hast forsaken me.
Thou hast breathed essence
Into these corpse lungs, and yet
Thou had cast me out
Into this cold black with no regret.
Why dost thou shudder so father?
Thine eyes were the first I
Bore witness to in mine blossom.
'Ere did that grace of life ebb within;
Yet thou did but blench and look
No more upon thy creation no farther.
Dost thou have stomach to embrace?
O father, I ought to have been an angel,
But alas thou hast sewn a villain's face
To hide mine internal beauty.
O father, why thou elude me of love?
Thou elude my diabolic presence
With thy Prometheus hands, and still
Thy plague am I to thou
In pestilence dire I maketh thou ill.
Where dost thou go to weep father?
Look! Even stars insult my frame
Ne'er did the celestial offer me comfort,
Yet thou would dare mock too.
Only shallow rain cries tears ever blue.
Dost thou have conscience to behold?
O father, did thou not dream me as mortal,
But I am a patchwork of nightmares old
As a mirror of thy own cruelt