Tag: relationships

In Case of Emergency

I’ve been quite busy lately, what with three jobs. I took a few weeks off from writing, and that helped me focus on getting adjusted to my work. Gone are the days that I would be wracked with guilt over not writing (and thank God for it).

I had a little time today and wrote this. 

In Case of Emergency

In case of emergency, she said,
kill me, and be sure you drink
my blood before helping others.

I stared at the blasted ground, the cold
sky, the misshapen hump of land where
we stood and tried to solve the problem

that had plagued generations–what to
do when disaster strikes in the form of
something we recognize intimately.

When the time came, she died without
a sound, and with stained lips, I roamed
the streets, offering her as sacrament.

Ebb and Flow

I started a new journal the other day and was freewriting when this poem came. When I’m plugged into the Cosmic Signal, I never know what’s going to bubble to the surface or who’s going to speak.

Ebb and Flow

Already spinning lies, I enter you.

Outside, the world floods with tears
as you open your carefully crafted eyes,
seeing only what you want to see.

We ebb and flow, ignorant of love.

The Good Not Done, The Love Not Given (Classic Poem Series #6)

I was digging through some old poems (by old, I mean written when I was in college, some twenty years ago) and came across this one. This, and the others I’ve posted in the series, are classic only to me, and I’ll admit calling this the “classic poem series” makes me laugh. 

I remember the context of this piece quite well; it was during a painful breakup. The girl about whom it’s written never read the piece (and is highly unlikely to read this post), which is for the best. I also remember a poetry mentor being critical of the poem, suggesting that I revise it more closely with Larken’s work in mind. I didn’t agree with her then…and I still don’t. The line was a jumping-off point and therefore served its purpose.

The Good Not Done, The Love Not Given*

If I counted the times
I blackened others
with my presence,
you would curse the sky
and dig for solace in the earth
you love so well.

You don’t know defilement like I do,
when it becomes a second skin.

I have fought our extinction
for long enough, but I remember
touching you in the right places
at the right times, and your manic
screams that told me I would live forever.

Sex is broken origami now,
paper-thin and disabled.

I could be a Zen master,
so controlled is my breath
when you walk by.

I break into your room later
and place pennies on your sleep-locked eyes.
Outside the night gathers on dark legs,
and I love everything except you.

*from Philip Larken’s “Aubade”

Back on Planet Earth

My writing has been pretty “meh” for a few days. But I keep suiting up and showing up, as the saying goes, even when the result was this:

“Are you panicked about the pancakes?” Jill asked Oscar. They were waiting out the rain in a seedy dance club that hadn’t seen a good night since 1985.

“Of course I’m panicked about the pancakes!” Oscar replied. He shook like a leaf in the wind. “I panic about everything, but when you throw pancakes in the mix, I turn into a wreck!”

There wasn’t much more to see in this particular scene, so we’re going to move on even though Oscar “Skinner” Canteloupe has an interesting backstory and a remarkable backside…heyyy ohhh! *rimshot*

So I was pleasantly surprised when, in the midst of ruminating about death, loss, and relationships (par for the course), I came up with something not half bad:

Back on Planet Earth

“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 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 when 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 violent clouds and massive radiation.
We all agreed that she was from another planet.

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 suspect is me but isn’t, and she sighs
an alien sigh and flaps her dark wings.

Back here on planet Earth, we struggle.
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.

An Afternoon

A doomed relationship in which word fail, and distance is meaured by what is available: a window, a yard, birds, blood.

An Afternoon

There’s a smear of blood
on the window, and I smile.
It’s a comforting shade of red,
a color that always smooths
the wrinkles of my soul and
flies me to the moon and back.

She paces in the front yard,
holding counsel with mocking
birds and cardinals, not seeing
the disparity between the two.

I hold my breath and go for a
new world record, but I have no
witness, so I rap on the window.
I see her through the red tint,
her head bowed as if praying,
while my lungs give in to fire.

Just Try Harder (flash fiction?)

I guess this is flash fiction. Maybe it’s prose poetry? Whatever it is, it’s redolent of sadness, wrecked relationships, and deep pain. It’s not from personal experience, but I recognize enough of myself in the lines to be sympathetic and somewhat horrified.


Did you bring me comfort or dead flowers? you want to know, and I guess I don’t blame you. I’ve done both, and I’ve got more of a thing for wilted plants than hugs. Sorry about that, but not really.


You need help, you tell me. Do I? Maybe. I swim in the waters of myself, take my own medicine, and shine the brightest light in the universe right into my ugly eyes. I know what I am. I know how easily I can hurt you, and you think it’s fucked up that I know it and keep doing it, and then you blame yourself for letting me come around. I guess we both need help.


I’m moving. Don’t try to find me, you say, and I break myself against the wall. You tell me to stop, but I don’t. I do it again, and you cry. I tell you to look at the pieces, and you do. Then you gather them and put them back together as best you can.


Just try harder, you say. It’s a dumb line, but I don’t laugh. Instead, I take your hand in mine. I don’t crush it. I kiss it and lie, Okay.

Cutter (flash fiction)

“I need to feel something,” Lauren said. She wanted me he to cut her. I didn’t want to, but the pain in her eyes convinced me. I knew the relief would be more powerful if I did it. I sighed and reached for the knife I’d sterilized earlier.

“Where?” I asked quietly. We were naked in bed. The outline of her breasts showed through the thin sheets, but I didn’t get hard. There was nothing sexual about this, for either of us.

“On my upper arm,” Lauren said, turning her head away from me. She didn’t like watching me cut; she liked the surprise of the pain, the sting that opened the floodgate. Carefully, I pulled back the sheet. I kissed a spot right above her left bicep before I pressed the knife into her flesh.

I heard her draw a sharp breath, followed by a moan of pleasure. The blood, bright red, trickled down her arm. I grabbed a tissue and blotted it away and asked, “More?”

“One. Right below.”

I made another precise cut . Again, Lauren drew a breath and moaned. She began crying. “Thank you,” she said, turning over after I cleaned off her arm, rubbing it first with alcohol, two dabs of Neosporin and finally applying two small Band-Aids. This was the way things had been since I took over most of the cutting. If she insisted on continuing it, she would do it safely. I tried not to be angry with her when I discovered untreated, uncovered cuts. She liked to cut her the back of her neck, and the wounds would turn angry if I didn’t catch them.

The sun had fallen by the time she curled into me. Her eyes, clear from pain, looked sleepy. “Thank you,” she said again.

“You’re welcome,” I told her and kissed her. She leaned into the kiss, but I knew sex was out of the question. That was OK. I’d already caused enough destruction.