Wednesday, April 6, 2016


What to do When You Feel Less Than Zero

In the in-between
the clouds won’t part again
and the moon is a stranger who insults your
taste of music,
your choices and conclusions,
while everything congeals
and conspires as usual,
the same old hoaxes,
those familiar promises
unraveling like the life
you’ve been living for years.
Going down again,
you float on razors,
on spikes and crimson oven coils.
It’s enough to banish anyone,
enough to make one want to
vanish into an ashy mist.
In the bathroom,
there are plenty of pills,
a sharp blade, scissors,
a dull tub that might be
filled to overflow.
But there on the lampstand
is the slip of paper
with my number printed neatly.
Do you see it?
No, look again.
Reach for it.
Go on, please.
Call me anytime, it says.
Really, anytime.
Call me and I’ll be there.

People Are Dying

I am flipping through Facebook selfies
taken by bored and insecure homemade models while,
on the other side of the world,
a vest bomb made of nail and buckhorn
rips through an afternoon bazaar,
killing thirty… thirty-two… thirty-nine…
and maiming many more.
Nothing makes sense.
Online, someone is spouting cleavage.
Another one pouts for no reason.
Here’s a smile.
Here’s a cheek.
There’s a lipstick stain.
Everywhere around me,
people are dying,
real and imagined
whether they know it or not.

Mirror in Birds

The still sparrow
sits on a branch,
frail as a ball of hair,
its beak badly bent,
both limbs broken,
no way to lift or peck.
I see it from the couch window
where all my days are now.
“Move,” I say.
“Even just a little.  Move.”
As if it hears me,
the bird’s head swivels,
meeting my eyes.
“This is you,” it says.
“Move,” it says. 
“Even just a little.


The Seedling and the Tree

The ink is still drying on your lips
from the last note you’ll ever write
to me

The moon knows, the owl knows, and
mother earth has seen this movie a million
times or more

People said we looked alike,
years the only difference, the deepest
gully of all

But there were no bike lessons, no ball tossing
on the front lawn opposite other sons
and fathers

That would have been a kind of larceny,
having precious time filched from you
for petty trifles

Even as you sign away your life to
the greedy lawyer wearing black,
I forgive everything

After all I was once just semen and egg
half of it yours, half of it not,
a seedling searching for life


I’ve Stopped Looking at Your Facebook Page

Yet you are still the weight and the air,
a trapdoor dropped upon my chest,
a balloon bursting purple,
and I can’t help but remember your toothy smile,
the goofy glasses you tried on at that art exhibit,
your arm around a new man,
fingertips dug in deep at the waist,
not a choke hold so much as the act of claiming.
I have stopped looking and yet images remain,
stains of a past or a present I’m no longer part of.
And who should take a victory lap here?
Which one of us should raise their middle finger
without malice?



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