Saturday, August 18, 2012

poem #1 unedited straight from my head

The Witch

She's there all the time with her poison apple heart
She can't help the fact that she's aging while the young girl grows every day
white skin showing the blue map of veins and lips like five pink petals
but the witch, she could stop peddling deadly combs to rake the scalp with arsenic
She was there when I was that girl too
telling me I wasn't beautiful
even when my hair fell over my shoulders, my skin unlined and my eyes were green
instead of this undefinable muddy something
I believed her and when I asked if I could cut my hair she let me
When my skin broke out in red bumps she pretended not to see
Her portraits covered every wall and still she wept
when the king went off to paint the village maids
Beauty doesn't make you indestructable
as once I thought
there will always be a Snow White
coming along like that young actress
who made love to the set with its faeries and tangled roots
with its forests and white stags
shared more chemistry with the world than the hot huntsman
and made the director's model wife delete her twitter account

There will always be mothers pleading with mirrors
This is my advice:
Take your heart from your chest and examine it
Let it bleed in your hands
talk to it softly as you might once have spoken to a lover
or a white stag
or a mirror
do not take a bite
or try to choke her with it
sing to it
then return it
to the empty
cavity of your chest

flb 8/18 please post your poems below


  1. Explaining

    I could try
    then the word spreads out like an oil spill
    letters stretch more than an old waistband
    that no longer quite holds in
    what it's supposed to

    "Ex" as in former
    "plain" as the nose on my face or that place
    where rain falls or not-vanilla yogurt
    "ing" as in dyslexic gin I should be drinkgin

    and it loses
    what it was supposed to keep
    this explaining
    dropping keys down the culvert
    butter-side-down floor toast
    a quiet confidence

    The look in your eyes
    if I could see them, if you could try
    blinking the wet out of the word
    me explaining
    and let me see them again

    but I can't make sense
    the syllables jumble themselves up
    a sibilant S, a glottal G, a misshapen
    word too often leaked out
    explaining doesn't spell

  2. Also straight off the top of my head this morning:


    A dancing princess under a midnight sky
    twinkling in the darkness, she dances to make
    her mind wander away from her broken garnet pieces
    set on fire by a spark – then—
    the ribbon of love torn in half,
    trees— they whisper to her, singing the melody to her harmonied heart,
    as they sweep away the pieces with a cool September wind.

  3. The Willow House

    We wandered through a wood and found
    a house of willow branches
    whose disposition I did survey,
    when instead I should have led you through
    its primitive and open door
    and kissed you in that shady refuge,
    sculpted by slews of braided boughs,
    my hands cupping the back of your neck
    leaving the sunlight ousted by the rooftop limbs,
    my bolder self with you within,
    but no I stayed outside and circled round
    with you a house of willow branches
    circumnavigating as I tend to do
    the mystic interior.

  4. Give me a knife

    Where are the poems that were
    In my heart?
    I once wrote of change, transformation,

    Charles Bukowski's days of
    Dead end jobs and drinking habits
    And the insomniac nights
    Are starting to look attractive.
    I'll take the dirt and the squalid
    Seedy, sordid love affairs in
    Cheap rooms for
    Sixty years of poetry.

    Or give me a husband like Sylvia's,
    A colossus, a big, black boot to
    Kick me around till I
    Seep white-hot rage
    Onto the page and
    Ovens start looking attractive.

    Give me a knife long enough
    To reach my heart.
    I'll find the words if I
    Have to cut them out.
    Give me a fucking knife.
    They won't be pretty but they'll be mine.

    Give me a knife.

    1. are we allowed to reply? imogen, this cuts deep where it's supposed to. xo

    2. Oh, wow. I'm actually blushing. It means a lot that you connected (plus now I feel the need to try extra hard for the next 29 days!)

  5. i’m trapped in a jar of mosquitoes,
    they hiss in my ears
    their wings or their legs or their grinding teeth
    i can’t tell the difference

    i stare at my hand
    covered in welts and swelling twice its size
    pulsating, driving me mad
    i want to scratch i want to
    bite it off

    i stand above the incoming ripples of a pacific
    and for a brief moment
    i’m not in a jar, i’m one with an endless universe
    more powerful than the sky

    behind me, music blares from a night-colored jeep guarding a tall fire
    burning dried out trees from far off lands

    i run from the waves, laughing
    and fall into the sand, drunk
    amid a sea of strangers,
    save for the three sisters
    armed with dull pocket knives and tiny flashlights,
    just in case

  6. Whiskey kisses under Polyethylene waves
    foaming like pink frosting
    space is for astronauts
    realigning the universe for someone, star by star
    in a turquoise booth on lincoln boulevard
    between bites of handmade tortillas
    and soft touches of faces
    and claws held back by sex mittens
    you fed me love tart
    and we shared a coke and favorite songs


    it can be anything from anywhere
    and it turns into that day
    a cereal box
    will just morph into the complex apartment mornings
    when we'd fend for ourselves
    and they in turn will morph into my last vision of you
    and then it's me that day
    on the porch watching the tree send its seeds off
    as if they were just going to school
    and that is how i think of you now,
    as if you are just off to school,
    as if you didn't ride the wind
    off into forever
    and just like that the time of day
    which doesn't even exist except on a clock
    will turn into a phone call
    and there i am
    back there with that day, my new constant companion
    and guess what
    an ironing board will turn into that day faster than anything
    starch now smells like late spring afternoon and less like you
    that day is threatening to replace you
    to touch everything
    to swallow it whole
    to infect every family photo
    so at first glance we smile at the memory it envokes
    and then we double-take and say, "who is that?
    back there, waving? who is that? he looks familiar."
    and then just like that we'll know it's that day who's creeping into every shot.
    it's impossible to separate you two now, you're like siamese twins you two
    you and that day
    and it can be anything but nothing will ever be you again

    1. I LOVE this line
      "starch now smells like late spring afternoon and less like you"

  8. You first kissed me under a magnolia tree
    and for those few moments all that existed was
    you me and that magnolia tree
    it seems that there and then we made a vow
    and every time we touched the scent of the magnolia blossoms returned
    But as the season change so does the magnolia flowers faded
    When you left
    I felt like the bruised
    crushed fleshy petal of the magnolia flower
    never to be pristine and whole again.

  9. #1
    the ghost divides me
    her hands clawing into
    the four chambers of heart
    and suckling
    the ghost remembers
    whatever I chose to
    she whispers cruelly
    the four seasons
    a lingering cool touch to
    my brow
    i hate how i yearn
    to please
    i hate how my habits
    dictate to be docile
    when inside the fires
    are rising
    cool the pity with her
    destroy my confidence
    with her neon avalanche.

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  11. and what about the mushrooms?
    lying around her
    were they magical?
    did they take her away?
    i see white powder and dust
    fog like smoke
    that place some choose to live in
    i'd rather dream of pretty things
    like her ruffled blue dress, chiffon and lace
    lipstick and nail polish
    my warpaint armor
    that's my way of escaping pain
    fantasy through fashion
    don't we dress up when we feel ugliest?
    another way is sleep
    i wonder if she welcomes it
    unless she has nightmares
    or does she live in world where she savors others words?
    holding onto them like golden nuggets
    following their yellow brick road to discover
    the answers were always within her
    she picked up a pen, a paintbrush, a guitar

  12. Is writing poetry
    Like bike riding?
    Dust of pedals
    Blow up tires
    And go.

    Can hearts remember
    How to draw images with
    Words spurt out of blood valves?
    Emotion in movement

    Is rhyming like dancing
    Rhythm beats to a song
    In fancy shoes and expensive pens

    Can I remember
    Ink gliding on paper
    Painting thoughts
    Like turning left
    Onto unpaved road?

    De-rust me now
    Let’s try out
    The bicycle is a thought
    To bring you forward

  13. Pebbles on the Beach

    White Lightening
    Cuts through rocking caps
    Red velour interior,
    A cosy nose cabin,
    Napping in the bow of a speedy boat.

    Dreams crash and splash
    Rock back
    Rock forth
    In the body of
    Lake Erie
    Cold and Familiar.


    Plant your ass in a ridge of sand,
    Let the waves hit you in the face,
    Like this.
    Like that.
    Algae and minnows up the nose, burning the back of the brain.
    This is the way to a place that you know,
    But can't call up.
    Can't call back.
    Wrong number.
    Try again.

    Plan a treasure hunt.
    Bury the map.
    Memories are the pinks and blues of a shell
    Dried up, bleached out and gone, forgotten.
    So much sad
    The happy slipped off.
    Can't recall
    Not at all
    The fun times with my dad.

    Turtle then,
    Turtle now.

    Dead fish heads with shells in their sockets
    Crunchy yellowed scales, tanning and tanning and
    Baked in the heat.
    No meat
    All flesh is gone
    Plucked by bald vultures
    Savoured by midges and gnats.
    Like this.
    Like that.
    Like all the difference when he clicks like.

    Speedy turtle
    Microscopic claws clack on warm stone
    Pigsnout face and spinning funnel eyes
    Not all turtles are slow.

    Crickets in the corn whistle a song of sleep
    Comfort and dream
    On a hook
    Too much or too little
    Stars above all the time.
    So many always.

    Turtle why?
    Turtle how?

    Turtle in the Tupperware
    Mommy let me take you home.
    You didn't stand a chance.
    Smokey fog of cluttered land
    Chlorine faucet and pesticide grass.
    No choice but to turtle away.

    Pebbles in the sand
    Gunshots in the air
    Scare the birds
    Butterflies in webs
    Trapped moth with eaten wing
    Begin again.

    A wrinkled neck.

    Set you free
    Let you be
    A shore.
    A rock.

    A bouncy glide
    Freedom ride.
    Blue and green as far as the farthest tree
    Navigate rocks and potholes along the marsh.
    Red treehouse, brown barn.
    Sweet corn and a place to swim.

    Tiny wise one
    Turtle baby with the never-ending-story eyes
    And a snout of ancient times.
    Little creature ready to float and to bask in the sun,
    I seek and I search for a man that approves,
    Who will tell me he's proud,
    That I'm good and I'm all,
    All he's wanted in a girl,
    In a girl
    Like me.

    Speed boat.
    Speedy turtle.
    Like this.
    Like that.

  14. beast girl


    i’ve always been a girl
    with emotions
    like a tropical climate—
    sultry languid afternoon breezes crash
    into rrrrrolllling thunder, pounding oceans

    falling just as
    easily back
    to guileless sun-yellow smiles,
    as if nothing
    was ever wrong.

    even as a small sweet child
    i would scream bloody murder, throw myself
    across the room, tears
    flying like darts
    in every direction.
    beast girl. did i ever know why?
    beast girl, wishing warm sleep, wishing oblivion.

    beast girl grew
    breasts, grew hair
    where the magazines say
    hair isn’t supposed to be.
    walked hunched over like an omega dog.
    beast girl learns
    to be seen
    yearns to be seen
    burns to be seen even at the risk
    of giving herself up.
    beast girl has a lot to learn. beast girl looks
    in the mirror, wants to break
    the mirror, crack
    the image, shatter
    the girl, burn the leeches from her insides.

    wants to peel her skin to reveal something new.

    i wanted to be a goddess.
    rock n roll queens dressed in black, captivating crowds
    girls on computer screens, goldenhaired doelike classmates.
    i would rather be an animal. i wanted the wings of an eagle
    strong muscled legs of a mare,
    or sleek furred skin of a panther
    instead of a frightened rabbit heart thumpthumping
    in my bony chest.


    “it’s okay
    to need someone sometimes” he says.
    beast girl disagrees,
    naked on the floor,
    wondering if through all this
    she has really changed from the time she was thirteen.
    it’s hard to admit
    i can never be anything more than human.

    he stays through the night. it’s okay
    to need someone, really?
    do goddesses need, do panthers, eagles, mares?
    is a beast girl loveable
    without storybookfairydust painted on
    her face and chest,
    every pretense of perfect washed away
    in a mud of makeup and water, a storm of salt
    another wave of shame. but it will pass. large hands
    wipe embarrassment away, sleep descends.

    beast girl read somewhere
    that it’s okay to see
    and not always be seen. beast girl opens eyes
    to beautiful boys, bodies, melting
    into mattresses. her muses. not always
    to give her self, the object
    of desire.
    reading this sparked a fire. could it possibly
    be true? beast girl
    smiles, sheds fur,
    has so much to learn.

  15. day 1- teenage wasteland

    cheap like a Sunset Boulevard motel, walking downtown full of booze and nicotine
    she wore a t-shirt that had a Cheshire-grinning smiley face on it and the word acid on it underneath her leopard print jacket
    breathing in, breathing out and then inhaling another cigarette
    lost somewhere in-between suburban trash and rock n' roll aspirations

  16. If Snow Falls on Venus

    Her fingers could slide,
    easy, soft, down
    through waves of blue, flowing
    underneath to the wet,
    to the warm and flushed and
    pink, deepening;
    her thighs could spread,
    pale inner shine of an oyster shell
    cupping her smooth-bright pearl
    of anticipation, growing,
    hidden for so long;
    the undertow of her desire
    could suck her slickened fingers
    deeper, deeper, until
    it suffuses her, head to toe,
    rosy richness beneath cerulean
    making her a violet anemone,
    swooning with the weight
    of her heady nectar.

  17. so late. but joining in.
    my transluscent paper skin
    stretches over bones that don’t
    feel right in my body.
    they are too heavy,
    every hollow filled with sorrow,
    burdened bones making me limp.
    i am always tired.
    they warned me of poison apples
    deep, enticing red like lovers lips
    the crack of skin like a broken rib
    its sorrowful bruising; a tiny blemish
    on a glossy perfect surface.
    the poison, it seeps into your organs
    sucks out your sanctuary,
    devours your dissent.
    i am different now.
    i wasn’t warned about the fine,
    white powder that stung my brain
    and made me dance all night
    swimming in sparkling lights
    until my body was only skin & bones
    & pointed apple-red fingernails.
    the world felt so fast
    and i felt so slow
    when we fucked so hard my lips bloomed bruises.
    no one told me the appeal
    of alice’s mushrooms and the beauty
    they would reveal about a world
    that holds so much,
    my desire to know it all
    overwhelming and sad.
    i am the poison apple,
    all lovers imprints & broken
    & bruised pale skin
    perfect enough to consume
    but my dormant insides are deadly dangerous