Category: creative writing

My Dark Love

My Dark Love

She had a penchant for dark thoughts
and darker deeds, which I found rather
heartbreaking…nonetheless, I burned
for her like no other, my skin shedding
anxiously whenever she declined my visits.
Eventually, she let me taste her fingers,
and her breath glowed in the moonlight
as we smiled, melting into the warm ground

Visit

“You should never visit me,”
she says as the room turns upside down
and her cat blossoms into flowers.

I suspect she might be right if this
is the way of things—my hands suddenly
on fire, my hair rising in sympathy

with the moaning wind—but I’ve come now,
and I want her to hold her bright face
before it melts down and fades away again.

Demon Season

Demon Season

The craters of your eyes doom me,
and I wander between worlds,
sunrise in my bones, sunset in my blood.

There is no grace in your reign, no fine regalia,
just shadow knitted between bleached bones.
With shuddering breath, I recite backward psalms
and pretend to understand the nature of nature.

In my questionable tomb, I decide whether it’s
day or night, whether you radiate warmth
or continue the cycle of cold-layering the sky.

Above ground, the crows know it’s demon season.
I watch them gather in trees and prepare themselves,
their eyes fine-tuned to catch the glitter of red
and the copper scent of fear I always leave behind.

Nautical Steve Gets His

Nautical Steve Gets His

He was fat with shrimp and regret.
His lady, a painted jumble of aches,
shrieked at him to get a damn job,
for Chrissake, how can he just sit
around and fucking drink all day?
Could he at least answer her that?

He couldn’t, actually, so he rolled
a joint and told her she wasn’t doing
him any goddamn favors by hanging
around and she could hit the road
any old time…like right then, just
as the sun forced itself over the hills
and the birds sang like they gave a fuck.

Before she left, she visited a frying pan
on his oversized head, and he sank like
a stone to the ocean of the filthy carpet.
She grabbed the keys to his new Harley
and cranked it up, startling the living hell
out of the chickens at the trailer next door…

…and off she went into wild Florida once more.

Where I Found You

Where I Found You

I found you in the river,
which is strange because
I normally avoid rivers
and oceans and ponds.

Give me earth, mountains,
terrain, dirt, grass, and trees.
Water everywhere be damned–
our lives are miserable enough.

You were floating face down
and I thought you were dead,
but you stirred, your hair
dripping blood as you rose

from what should have been
a watery grave, and I took you
to my house, where I taught you
about everything terrestrial.

Trying to Sleep in Dying Town

Trying to Sleep in Dying Town

Do you have spare change for the death toll?
asks the man, dressed in drab, offering
a smiles of knives, making me rethink
my decision to bed down in Dying Town.

Shaking, I fumbled through my coin purse—
a rare item, passed down by my avuncular
grandfather, that lion of perdition, that boaster
of threats made good in a whip-tide of battered
promises and green sails infused with his tidal breath—

and produced some blood-tinged money,
smudged with countless fingerprints, warm
from ghost transactions and pocket love,
coming to me through a brain chain of events.

Here, I said and flipped a quarter and nickel
to the man who caught both with a wrist snap,
the air around his hands charged and smoky,
reminding us both that his time was short,
bringing to mind my own looping heartbeat.

A Day at Home

A Day at Home

My throat is covered
with a thick layer of dust
that’s falling like snow
from the Clouds of the Room,
A troubling development,
I cough out in Morse code.

I hope someone gets my
message in a bottle, I think-sing,
and behold! a bottle appears.
I scribble my desires on the
sheaf of old paper inside it.
I am suddenly burning with hope.

I cast the bottle on the Waters
of the Floor, untrusty though
they be, matey, I growl in Pirate Talk,
watching the skies for a sign from God.
Nothing happens. It’s just me, as usual,
in the shrinking universe of my mind.

In The End

In The End

I waited—with no one—
in the world’s most fierce, final storm.
There, in the greenish firmament,
a spider screamed, and birds decided
to watch banal TV shows in the air.

All the while, I chanted
the only words that mattered.
In the end, when the universe
was close to heat death
and circling God’s drain,
I had two thoughts—

but they evaporated like tears
in the sun, though there had been
no sun for ten billion years—
ah, I remember my two final thoughts…

I wish I had loved myself more,
and when I sank into eternity,
I wish it would feel like you,
and it did, and I finally fell
to pieces, atom by grateful atom.

Things I Don’t Know

I’ve started going through my poetry book collections and reacquainting myself with them, starting with James Tates Selected Poems. Tate had a major impact on me during my second year of college, most likely at the recommendation of my mentor and teacher, Dr. Lynn Burris Butler.

From the Poetry Foundation:

Many of Tate’s poems are character driven, featuring a narrator’s various encounters with a gnome, a goat, an insurance agent. In a 1998 interview, he pointed to one unifying element in his work: “My characters usually are—or, I’d say most often, I don’t want to generalize too much—but most often they’re in trouble, and they’re trying to find some kind of life.”

I hadn’t realized how much my style resembled his until I began reading his work again. When I’ve had my fill of Tate, I’ll turn my eyes back to the wonderfully weird Charles Simic.

My hope is that I’ll write more if I read more. That generally holds true for fiction, but aside from Stephen King’s recent (and excellent) short story collection If It Bleeds, I haven’t read any fiction…certainly not any that sparks ideas.

Things I Don’t Know

“There are some things you
don’t know,” she tells me as she
sews the children’s mouths shut.
She has a deft touch, and the
children hardly move as she works
the needle to and fro, humming.

“There are many things I don’t know,”
I say and begin sewing my own mouth
with a practiced hand, though I lack
her touch and soon begin bleeding
as the night blossoms deeply around us,
covering our little house in shadow.

Back on Planet Earth

I wrote this some time ago as a poem, but I think it works better as prose…maybe. I suspect it should be longer, but I don’t have it in me to produce long pieces, be they poems or prose. Once upon a time, yes, but those days are gone, and I suspect they won’t return.

“I ate a butterfly,” my son confessed late one night when the moon hid her face and the stars had twinkle-toed their way into the Great Beyond where giant creatures soared through interstellar space, a comforting prospect for me and my dutiful, sky-gazing, only child.

“I’ve heard worse,” I told him. “Hell, I’ve done worse, though butterfly eating isn’t the best thing in the world. You’re mom would have had a fit.”

I remember the time she cried in the backyard and I kissed her eyes until she stopped. She told me about memories she couldn’t have had, images of a past life she lived under violet clouds and three moons. We agreed that she was from another planet, and we acknowledged how terrible it was that she had to die on this one.

My son and I think that she must be one of the space creatures now, her cavernous mouth agape as she drifts in the cold darkness, lonely until she bumps until another creature she hopes is me or our son. Perhaps one day it will be, but for now she sighs an alien sigh and flaps her dark wings.

Back here on planet Earth, we struggle on. We etch our memories in sand, knowing they will fade with rushing water and wind. Some of us eat butterflies. The rest of us learn to forgive such things and try to smile.