Wednesdays24601? I grumble, and my therapist laughs at me.
I can’t help but grin. Seen that movie twice already,
how else can I answer “Who Am I”?
There’s a crinkle to her eyes when she talks of my
humor. Let them see, she says, and I fiddle with my cap
twisted in my hands, brown and scratchy ‘neath my gnawed-on-torn fingernails
Rain on fresh paint, damp heat in a cluttered chair. I’m
twenty-two and take six pills, I say. I roll my face around on the keyboard and
words come out and sometimes I call that writing.
I watch insects click on sallow hotel lights, fat lonely ladies at the 3am drive-thru,
neon glistening in oil puddles. I’m that brassy tarnished doorknob you once
cut your finger on, the old man with whiskey on his trousers who loves a young girl or so
You have white scars.
I have white scars.
I’m not very serious ‘bout it all. Makes me a terrible poet,
I say, and gnaw on my knuckles.
You can’t really fake moments
lingering, a sestinaPerhaps it’s nightmare sweat that wets my face
Or this fractured sunlight—somehow I wake
To bathe my brow with shaking fingertips
As the hall clock ticks onward towards noon.
I’ll scrub the bitter coffee from my teeth
And choke down hallowed pills for empty aid.
And this can keep my soul safe of your aid?
With sandalwood I’d fain anoint my face,
Sesame scent where you once laid your teeth.
I’ve seen enough of storms. The thunder’s wake
Exhausts my eyes; keep for yourself brash noon
The mist and dew have gentle fingertips.
This rusted tap beneath my fingertips
And spit-warm water, some unwitting aid;
Recalling eyes, and shining in the noon
And honesty once open in your face—
Damn memory. The times before you’d wake
And how I meant to mark you with my teeth.
The lies I kept there, trapped between my teeth
And truths pawed through by bruising fingertips—
But it’s best to forget. Best just to wake
And drink hot tea. Perhaps I
One Thousand Feet HighIf only there were other options.
Hal's palms are sweaty, slick on the rocks. Blood under his nails. He pants, shifts his foot about until it finds a hold. Pebbles clatter down the cliff face; gritting his teeth, he hauls himself up and keeps climbing.
The crossbow slung over his back digs into his ribs, his sword clanking against his thigh. He wants to be gripping that sword. Far below the soles of his boots, there's a battle churning, rending the valley into writhing masses of men and sound and the wash of searing daylight. The heat is battering his skin like a solid thing.
He's a thousand feet up and the battle continues and he's alone.
Shrieking and the sound of horns. And a scream drifts up the hot sandstoneto me! Knights, to me! For God and Vercingetorixand his fingers are blistered and his eyes sting. A ragged breath rattles in his throat and he finds a crack to wedge his fingers in, push up with his foot.
The mission is to ascend to the precipice. Shoot. He h
Ligatures[see comments below for timeline information.]
Hal knew there was trouble before he'd come within ten yards of it. After all, garish flickering lights and shouts spilling out of pub windows an hour before closing generally didn't bode well, in his mind.
The Knight heaved a little sigh and kept walking, footsteps crunching on the worn gravel path as he wound his way closer. Here he was, spending a rare sanctioned leave doing this, when taking a nice, restful sleep in a bed away from the fortress was really all he wanted from it
Ah, well. Buckling down a dark and weary grumble, he sprang up the three little steps, then reached out to haul open the door.
Instant chaos met his senses, the yelling and swearing and stomping of feet that could only indicate a nasty brawl. Blinking hard against the flare of torchlight, Hal shut the door behind himself, breathing in the fumes of smoke and sweat and stale bodies and alcohol, surveying the scene.
"C'mon, y'blasted coward, c'mon!
Self Portrait In An Upper RoomPicture me, if you will, as a saxophone. Not a bright, shiny alto sort of saxophone, strung casually around a sax section leader’s neck, nor yet a tenor of uncertain vintage, which has for years been fighting a rearguard against its owner’s propensity for sallies beyond the musical stratosphere.
No. Picture a road weary baritone, a cumbersome instrument, whose gruff tones can occasionally be teased toward poetry. You might consider this no more than the autobiographist’s evasive way with facts. Attend! Listen with the inner ear. You might hear faint echoes of tunes this instrumentalist has never been brave enough to explore, preferring too often to rely on the instrument’s inbuilt tendency to bluster, rather than on the challenging graces of ballad interpretation.
Or, from a slightly different perspective, think again. Think Tubby The Tuba. Danny Kaye’s avuncular voice is woven into the tapestry of my childhood. I shared that clumsy earnestness that Paul
The Ordeal Of A Noble LadyImagine how cruel that ancient world could be, where any moment might challenge survival. The city, cramped within its walls, seemed even so almost immeasurable to its teeming inhabitants, who, from dawn to dusk, struggled to keep encroaching poverty at bay.
But there were palatial buildings too, whose denizens brocaded themselves in sumptuous cloths, cut with all the art the guild of tailors could supply. Their imposing wealth paid also for the cathedral, where vast columns of stone provided a haven to still the sharp prods of conscience.
At the apex of the city the Earl’s Great Hall could be found. He was in his turn a vassal to the distant king. He rewarded the Earl’s loyalty with this swarming fief, thereby ensuring the Earl’s continued wealth. The King granted him the right to levy on the townspeople such taxation as he might choose. At his side his wife -a noble woman whose chastity was the price agreed to seal an alliance between two pugnacious aristocrat
BruteThe Brute enlivened his solitude. He had thought of her as the Brute for years now, he realised, yet the name might suit him better. He was a large, shambling, slow moving man, whose thoughts, often disconnected, floated across his mind like ominous clouds across a darkening sky.
His solitude after his mother had died. He felt that the old lady’s prolonged and distressing departure from their shared life had emptied him. there seemed so little of him to fill the emptied house. Then the Brute came along. There was a significant age gap between them. The Brute at that time (how many years ago?) was full of optimism and energy, a ball of idiotic enthusiasms. She certainly got him out of house, teaching him a daily routine of the lead and a stick to throw. With strangulating efforts, as the lead tightened around her throat, she did her best to pull him and the lead into the unremarkable grassy space known locally as the Park.
He threw the stick, she bounded after it, yelping and gro
within the void.
a tiny intelligence
extinguished in a moment.
MantisI thought I was a kaleidoscope of euphoric perceptions,
a sensual overlap of sixteen color-receptive cones on the acid spectrum,
creator of words to describe what only I could see when those sinews melted,
and the ocean waxed at my backdoor. I was bottom-feeding, heat-seeking,
capturing bent men like stunned seahorses boiling in the rainbow coral,
blinking wake of sonoluminescent dazzlement: tight jeans wrapped around their ankles,
faces blue but bubbling dank blood to their lips that sealed a pseudonym—
Then I was tongue-tied like a victim complex: always the receiver and never the sadist
of an infliction self-invented. I was wordless and mosquito sex stagnant,
playing in kiddie pools I called the Atlantic, wanting to tear a hole in reality or literature,
make the currents foam in the shape of wet letters that curved for my diction,
but I am not powerful: I am a shrimp. Not a writer, not a leviathan—
Though I don't think I've come to terms with it yet,
so I'll just keep br
Egoto understand me, you must have been so tired
that your electric firings ceased: so tired that your
self-preserving conductors rusted in your structures,
your rampant denials displayed on your teeth until
the insomnia gave way to lucidity: and you rested like
a convict long vindicated by the public, backlit.
I am living from moment to Moment--a directorial gaze for these scenes that startle and fade
when I come to the realization of their red essence:
the lighting of a blowtorch perfected by strains,
lips parted like the hideous birth of a child,
inhalation that drags my blood to breath,
a sky quilted by lights unnatural,
a man who lingers in the foreground of each apparition,
his hands sudden as peaches when I lie on the grass,
absorbing jade water as he stands by the fire,
speaking thick tongues unleft to fruition.
his shadowed palms become the symbols of my head:
He was a boy in his own head,
a galaxy created from winter sunlight
caught between colored panes of glass,
then filtered through thick absinthe curtains
and slivers of cheap jewelry shattered,
knocked from his mother's wrist to attract
swarms of rabid phosphenes and the hollow sound
skin makes when it's assaulted, the proceeding nebula
of violet and sickened yellow and red,
the pleas that made her singing voice pretty
and that man's eyes soften: liquid, halted.
In rapturous observation,
he collected beauty, but beauty
always betrayed him by its falsehood.