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Early Summer FuneralsTrees quiver in the hot quiet
Sunlight and white soaking into the hollow marble halls
Like the formaldehyde seeps
Into the sleeping marble eyes of the pigs
In the faraway biology room. The cold scent of mint and acid-
Above, the leaves shiver with the warmth of these early summer deaths
As school buses on the serpentine hill reflect the sky that has collected between the hills.
Early NoelsI remember the feeling of staring deep into a Christmas tree, deep enough that I couldn't see the other side. Only the lights, blinking, shimmering just in the corners of my sleepless eyes.
And the green, green in the twinkling gloom.
Rustling, luminous ornaments glimmer, nestled among the prickling swoosh of the laden boughs. A jangling fish, the ruby velvet of a jewel-encrusted slipper, walnuts brimming with treasure.
There was magic in the glimmering slump of gingerbread dough, in the shivering of cedar as Christmas morning yawns, creaks.
The lone, smooth-feathered dove is the one I can never find, for I have hidden him deep within the tree again, like myself. Find me if you can.
May (The Sleepers)The fruit still slumbers in the garden
My eyes were torn open by the light
Twinkling grassy dust slumps in the air just beyond my eyelashes.
A story told me once that dust is human skin.
So perhaps now, a French debutante mingles with my curtains
While an Italian man rests idly in my best patterned teacup.
The strawberries sleep on.
homeI pray to go home.
on bended knee,
I lift my heart
to a nameless god,
I bless his heart,
or maybe hers,
and ask for deliverance
to a land
I feel a map,
carved into my shoulders.
three mirrors are arranged
directing my attention
to my back, a range of mountains,
but my eyes don't see.
is water through a sieve.
puddles flow beneath me,
no barrier to hold me
a cheshire smile
and reversible signs
lie to me
and no amount of tears,
salty oceans on my cheeks,
will bring me home.
I dream of a room,
soft and fuzzy to the sight,
where I feel at rest;
I know that I am still
Fall of ManI remember thinking: if this were a story, it would be alright. Even tragedies have meaning when someone else holds the pen. But this is not a story. Unless it is.
There was me cradling you in the wreckage of a building; and in the distance, the sounds of running and screaming and alarms of ambulances, everyone calling for help, and there, another building collapsing.
A snowflake fell on your forehead and for a moment it seemed more important than the blood, more important than bombs falling from the sky, the war that had begun. Blocks away perhaps a television was somehow still on, perhaps it screamed propaganda. All I knew was you had no reason to be punished.
People can’t run with broken legs, and you also had a broken arm, and when I heard another woman scream for her beloved to come back to life, I knew you would die.
I should have remembered what you whispered to me, but the planes above were too loud. If I had heard your last word
Ageing Superhero (FFM 24)Nathan always imagined he’d go out in a gunfight, cape fluttering; a hero’s death in the pursuit of peace. Turns out, he was only right about the “gun” part.
* * *
Mr Cuddles weaves around Nathan’s ankles. He’s purring loudly, and shedding fur all over Nathan’s slightly-too-tight bodysuit, but Nathan’s attention is fixed on the tinny voice coming from his mobile.
“Look, your international days are over. You’re getting older, and I know you’ve gained a few pounds. No, don’t try to lie to me. You wear spandex, Nathan. It’s pretty unforgiving, and you no longer have a six-pack. The world events, the foreign villains, you can leave them to the newbies.”
Paying no attention to the plaintive-sounding agent, Mr Cuddles hunts, unnoticed as he follows Nathan towards the safe on the landing.
Nathan’s carrying his guns one-handed; he’s only half-listening to his age
Flying Dreams“I don’t know why I love you.
I just…can’t stop thinking of you.”
said old Mr. squirrel slowly caressing
the nut in his bed beside him.
He pulled the glasses from face and set them down
on the nightstand beside him
letting out a sigh. A picture of himself
and another sitting beside him.
He rolled back over and kissed the nut
falling into a deep sleep.
Mr. Squirrel dreamed of flying,
just as his cousins could.
Flying from tree to tree.
Like an overextended wonderful leap.
Safe from danger. Safe from the predators below.
A dog snapping and growling. He paid it no notice.
He was free and happy sailing through the trees.
Through the clouds. He could reach out
with his paws and touch them.
SO soft and fluffy
just like her…
He awoke from his dream startled.
It took him a second to catch his breath,
and he played with his graying beard hairs.
He had been much younger in the dream. So much younger.
“It’s a dream my sweet. Nothing more then a drea
NebraskaHe called her Nebraska. The first time he did was in a Wal-Mart parking lot with August humidity pressing the air from their lungs. It also happened to be the first time she saw him. “Whoa there, Nebraska!” he’d said as the blue shopping cart got away from her and rolled right into him.
She apologized profusely. At least it was empty, and hadn’t got a chance to gather much speed. Besides, what the heck was he doing standing in the cart return?
“Why the heck are you standing in a cart return?” she asked him. He was tall. Lanky. He had a military haircut, and she should have known then. He was young; she likely had the long side of a decade on him. But when he smiled, everything just felt better.
He vaulted out of the pipe enclosure and held something up between his thumb and index finger. A nickle. He grinned again, and his green eyes crinkled, “I dropped it.”
“Well that explains it.”
“And now,” he said, “I ha
PhotogenicPeople have often said I'm photogenic. From what little I've seen, I haven't liked many photos of just myself. But there are a few sentimental, spontaneous portraits, taken by people who saw the beauty in me when I didn't, which are definite exceptions to the rule.
There's that one that Jordan took of me, sitting under some trees at the Great Sand Dunes of Alamosa. I'd been crying over an unexpected altercation with a friend, though few can tell that by looking at the snapshot. "Can you smile and be pretty and love me?" he'd asked. In his mind, I'd done the latter two things; all I needed was to do the first. So I smiled, because I felt loved.
Then there's the picture that Thomas took of me, lying in the lower ring of what Texas A&M students call the Modern Art Sculpture. "People here do this all the time," he'd told me; I felt like I was blending in with a completely new culture--Thomas's culture--and it was exhilarating. It was my first time visiting campus, and I was in awe of a
[TGB] Leave The Light OnIt seemed only natural that she found him.
Her paws had been weary, her mind restless - home no longer felt like home and he .... he had always had a calming presence upon her soul. His smirking blue-green eyes soothed a fire in her soul and made everything shift when she hadn't been aware it was askew in the first place.
He held her steady, whether he knew it or not and right now Arya felt like a leaf in a thunderstorm.
"Fancy seeing you again - if I didn't know any better I'd say you missed my dashing looks."
Perhaps it was in the way Arya fumbled for an appropriate response, or perhaps it was how her grass eyes misted over with unshed tears - full to the brim with emotion Arya usually kept hidden from her companion.
"Arya?" His brow furrowed slightly and he took a hesitant step forward. His firefly was strong ... for her to be so shaken ...
She wasn't sure when the tears had started, hadn't noticed their slow descent down her cheeks until Idek's nose was touchin
My Knee Hurts and I Hate David BowieThey're at it again.
I've grabbed the broom and smacked the handle against the ceiling, but the neighbours upstairs take no notice. I think about calling the police, but I hate doing that without at least talking to them. Everybody deserves that chance, I think. Still, the prospect of standing outside their door and talking to them isn't one that sits comfortably. When I think I'm going to explode if I have to listen to another second, I give in.
I power up the stairs like nobody's business, and pound on their door. I'd knock like a normal person, but if they can't hear the broom hitting their floor, they won't hear a knock, either. Finally, after what feels like an eternity, the door opens and sound washes over me in a wave that's all but solid.
The figure in the doorway looks like a reject from an 80's concert. He's got a blinkin' mullet, and he sparkles... but he's got nothin' on the fella behind him. Bloody queer's wearing a dress, and more makeup than an entire row of beaut
A Grave Digger's KissesI fell in love with a gravedigger. His hands were rough and calloused; no matter how many times he cleaned them, grains of soil remained rattling in his palm. It should have been a warning – dirt nestled in his love-line, but something about the way he held me, how he always seemed surprised that I was warm, that I was alive, was endearing. He once said that in winter, when his fingers were like ice, he couldn’t feel the difference between the coffin and the bed, that he wouldn’t know whether to kiss me or assume the worst. But he refused gloves, scoffed at them; said feeling the earth part under his feet was the only way he knew up from down.
And his eyes were shovels, constantly burrowing through me, dragging up fossils, the skeletons dancing in my closet. He lived with the dead, only understood the chattering of skulls, would unearth forgotten secrets, examine them as if he were a mortician, a pathologist. Then those eyes would silently begin again, reburying
MonarchyMinty leaves weave in the tangle of lacework, baubles tossed in by the whimsical operator of an unseen spinning wheel.
The winter hollows gleam, olive and deep tea green under the drowsy sway of snowflakes.
There is a harsh cawing, for a crow has been disturbed from his evening toast, perhaps by the velvety screech of willow branches on milky birch bark.
The cardinals, underbellies robed in burgundy plume, droop like fat cranberries on the ivory boughs and do not reply.
A spider plucks up his inky legs and creeps from the unbraided knobbles of a cornucopia of coarse yarn, onto the unfinished wooden floor.
In the forest, the cardinals remain as baffled kings, pining for their plump golden crowns that bulge with rich fabric.
Opals, snowdrops collect at their feet as they nestle, puff, quiver, discuss affairs of state.
The Coffee GodThe Coffee God behind the counter shuffles foot to foot, a dance of steam and espresso. Black painted fingernails, inch gauged ears and a gray striped sweatshirt, hood crooked on his back. There's a cigarette tucked behind one ear; it bobs and twitches with each step.
“Non-fat caramel latte,” he calls, just as he always does, part of a spell, part of a mantra, toneless (just a tuck at the end). I reach. He looks up.
The espresso maker hisses.
There's something like a grin, something like a spark, something like a shared secret linked eye to eye. When he passes over the drink (rough cardboard sleeve hot to the touch), he lingers. Our fingers brush, a shiver, a jolt, a ten-watt shock.
The Coffee God tilts his chin, shouts, “Hey, mind if I take my break now?”
and ducks around the counter without waiting for a reply.
He slips his cigarette between his lips without taking his eyes from mine. I follow him out the door.
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