Insomnia

turning lazy circles above me
the big black vulture
swoops down to pick my brain
when it’s most vulnerable
dark wings whisper that this will go on
and on
and on

I shiver then sweat in my sheets
watching the hours slip by
I beg the beast to leave me be
make promises and bribes
while it cackles at my misfortune
taunting me with unfinished business
threatening tomorrow

only when
I’m reduced
to a fearful, quaking shell,
the cruel beast,
having finally grown bored of me,
perches on my chest
and plucks out my eyes

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After the Burn

AfterBurnpurpled bark, skin thin and curling at the corners,

crumbles like old love letters and oaths

misremembered,

pine cones with copper underbellies bleed out

and black waxy leaves cemented to their arching branches

fall like paper soldiers,

brittle needles crunch underfoot

and thorns, whetted by fire, draw blood with vengeance

tree limbs laid out, untidy as the dead,

powdered by cinder and ash,

a bleak situation,

the forest, a phoenix, burned up

to be born again,

and for the green and tender shoots clawing through the gloom,

a resurrection.

 

Easter Weekend, 2014

What I Found When I Shook Out My Kitchen Rug

My beloved great grandmother, for starters,
She was baking a ricotta pie
A pair of My Little Pony skates, circa 1985
Seven lizards, minus their tails
An irrational fear of falling down stairs
250 hand-written sentences on responsibility
Blue chalk dust from a four-square court
Clair de Lune on flute.

The harder I shook, the more that fell—
The pursuit of perfection
Paired with a compulsivity to count
One cup of black coffee—no sugar, no cream
A Pentax camera with a lens flare
An application to Princeton, unsent
A long-term experiment in not caring,
hypothesis correct.

You’d think by now, it’d all be out,
That subject-predicate habit
A tendency to smile and shirk
The insatiable need to scratch till I bleed
Rushing through the downhill
To climb the mountain again
Unmatched silverware and unmade beds
Beginnings without endings
And one friend request from my father, still pending.

The Art of Imperfection

Practice imperfection

Until you get it right

A word misspoken

A moment too late

Revel in your mistakes

 

A lapsed deadline

An unpaid bill

Like fruit collecting flies

How quickly they multiply

 

A house unkept

a yard to neglect

There’s only so much you can do

Broken dish, unfed fish

So many rely on you

 

La Boheme

Follow your dream

Your words, your words

They’ll eat your words

But it’s rice and beans for you

 

Your worry stones won’t help you, girl

Your stress ball days are through

Pick yourself up off the floor

Imperfect yourself anew

Do Us Part

Bury me in a burlap sack

Facing southern light

Let the worms devour me

And make food for the plants

 

Mourn me

As I will mourn you

And after some time

Take a lover

 

We have met before

And we will meet again

When we do, it will be

as if we were never apart.