Archive for April, 2008

Text Impossible

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

zurichbirds
Mood: Amazed
Drinking: Power-C

Text Impossible

To be so close and stay
so silent, though all sorts of words
come tumbling out of your ears,
your eyes, your unmentionable orifices,
the out-always-possible-aware
frustration.

Eloquence used to hang so easy
on you. All your consonants
and vowels would line up
with spines perpendicular,
baring eager Vaseline grins like
so many beauty contestants. But
where are all those bleached queens now
add talk this…?

You open your mouth and
words scatter like birds
after buckshot leaving behind
such a small selection
of wing-draggers and stragglers
that you hesitantly send out
all roads way.

I know I know I know
this conjugation is not
what you intended. But
the better linguist remains
dumbstruck, lost somewhere
in an alien hemisphere,
our the wondering.

What will you say when
you come back to us if
you come back to us
full of new words?
You’ve never climbed so high
in all of your living, still shouldering
the implicit expectations of so many eyes
believing someday you will. You will
expand your creations horizons.

*****

Uh. Did you just see what happened here?

31 poems in 30 days, that’s what happened.

As soon as I decided to write a poem a day for April to celebrate National Poetry Month, I knew I was off my nut. But I did it anyway, and not only did I not miss one single day, but on one occasion (April 24th), I got extra crazy and wrote two poems in one day… and posted them both!

Today’s poem is extra-special, not only because it is the last poem of the month, but because it was inspired by a dear friend of mine who suffered a catastrophic stroke a couple of months ago, and is still suffering from aphasia, meaning his language is very limited. He knows what he wants to say, but the words just won’t come out right.

I received an email from him earlier this week titled “Text Impossible!”, and it is directly responsible for today’s poem, which also incorporates several of the phrases he’s written or spoken recently in attempts to communicate. Even though he’s not yet saying what he wants to say, the words he is saying are strangely beautiful.

I thought it quite fitting to close a month of extremely prolific communication with a poem about being unable to communicate the way you want to.

So thank you to DZ for his beautiful bravery, and thanks to all of you who have been reading along these past 30 days. I’ve written so many things I never expected to write, and it’s all been really very wonderful.

Thanks for being here!

-Lo, who’s going to get real quiet now.

Catastrophe Waitress

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

catastrophewaitress
Mood: Stoic
Drinking: Something Pink

Catastrophe Waitress

i.
Lunching with women in ruffled collars
and buckled heels I reveal
far too much
over split pea ravioli.

I am so full of dreams I can
not stop them spilling over
so I ask for the check
to regain my restraint
and holster my smoking tongue.

ii.
No matter what she says,
I cannot think it anything but cruel
to divulge dreams of childbirth
to a woman whose womb
is a minefield.

She sips her Diet Coke, extra ice,
with what should pass for nonchalance
and says her body is slippery
and far too dangerous. “Even
the rats have abandoned ship.”

Attempts at wry rodent humor
are not a good sign.

Very few people follow up a miscarriage
with abortion. But she is
a condemned building in which
no one can be allowed to live
and here I come
banging down the door
bringing torture cupcakes.

iii.
Attracted by the attention
the local paper has brought
to the dead heads of stuffed game
that decorate the walls, we visit
the new place on G Street
to sample pancakes and controversy.

You position the stroller so
he has the best view of the room
but laden with milk, he sleeps
right through breakfast, oblivious
to the glassy brown gaze
of taxidermied antelope
who dream of lost safari fields,
ghost limbs twitching.

-Lo, who is now twitching for pancakes.

Earthquake Weather

Monday, April 28th, 2008

flameon
Mood: Funky
Drinking: Water

Earthquake Weather

And in that moment I knew
what my choice would be.
What, indeed, it already was,
as if all my life I had been
waiting for someone
just to ask the right question.

A question of love, yes,
and a question of lust, too,
but when you lay back
the skin of the thing
and find fire pulsing
in its core, then
you need only review
the essence of flame
to reach your answer.

If you want to burn
without getting burned
you must either
carry ice in your veins
or flame out before morning.

I have always been afraid of fire.
When playing with matches,
I am careful to singe only
fingertips.
Caution serves one well
in earthquake weather.

Now I can’t sleep
until you come home.
Last night I lay in bed
and wished the neighbor
would turn out his light.
And in that moment I knew
what my choice would be.

Without you here to cool me
I begin a slow burn.
When morning comes,
you will find only ashes
between the sheets.

There is no such thing
as one true love
so pick your number
wisely.

I know you’ll be awhile figuring that one out. I’m still working on it, myself. So here’s some fun new things to distract you.

My favorite Wicker Kid has been writing again. I highly suggest you read his new posts over at The Wicker Chronicles.

A lovely lady from the UK named Melissa contacted me over the weekend to ask if she could add some cinepoetry to her website. And that’s how Bored Now and Slow Roast came to be a part of Beat the Dust TV. Check it out.

-Lo, who thinks the last stanza, though possibly misplaced, is the key.

Sorority Sister Number 2

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

sorority
Mood: Tired
Drinking: Soon

Sorority Sister #2

This is the part where
the entire theater screams,

“Look behind you!”
but you remain deaf

and ever so doomed.
The End inches closer

with every baited breath.
They’re numbering your

screen time in seconds.
You’re not going to be

the final girl, the one
who puts up plucky fists

and fights. You’re not even
going to extend the inevitable

by running, spilling your screams
into the eager, waiting night.

Your part’s only filler –
everyone knows the real hero

is the killer. Time to
turn and face the blade.

-Lo, who doesn’t even know where that one came from.

Bloodlust

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

redrose
Mood: Rushed
Drinking: Diet Coke

Bloodlust

I’m not asking you
to fall on a sword
to prove your affection
but

once in awhile
a little jealousy
wouldn’t hurt, you know
just

enough green
to indicate your
heart’s really in this
and

keeps is what
you’re playing for.
So

I’m not asking you
to fall on a sword
but

once in awhile a knife
or small dagger would do
not often
but

enough for me
to know you really
feel it
enough

for you to press
me to your lips
and

stop the bleeding.

-Lo, getting all abstract on your ass.

Happily Ever After

Friday, April 25th, 2008

twotonMood:
Drinking:

Happily Ever After

Only in America
do people expect to be happy.

It’s in our constitution
to demand pleasure
or at least the pursuit of it.

We want our picket fences
and chocolate cake, too.

We want not just true love
but unending adoration
with some instant gratification
on the side.

We want to make a difference
by making ourselves feel better.

We want to save the world
with shopping malls.

Elsewhere, success is survival.

But in the land of the
buy one get one free
we are not satisfied
until we are famous.

And even then we want more,
now,
again.
again.
again.

-Lo, running so late.

Fantasia/The Gelding

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

fantasia_runMood: Astonished
Drinking: The Usual

It’s a first during Poem-a-Day Poetry Month: 2 for 1. That’s right. One day, two poems.

It’s as rare as a three-legged cat, but it sometimes happens.

Both of these poems kind of go together, anyway, so it’s only fitting to present them that way. They’re both about the same guy and yes, that’s him over there on the right.

Fantasia

You were all wrong for me, yes
but that never stopped a girl
from falling in love. I had a
bad boy complex even at
age 12.

But bad boys don’t love you back
the way you wish they would.

You never forgave me
for tying you down,
for filling your mouth
with cold metal.

And though I tried to
make it up to you with
a warm bed, a good gallop
through pliant green fields,

you wouldn’t let me break you in.
I could never make you gentle.

The Gelding

Side by side, we tracked
chronic circles in the snow
until his knees buckled
and he fell gently to sleep.

The man in blue coveralls
swooped in then with his scalpel
kneeling in the slush
to do his work.

I stood feebly by
clutching the useless
lead line in one mittened hand
trying not to watch.

The cuts came quickly,
with business-like amounts
of blood. Castration as cure
for misbehavior.

When it was over, the vet
tossed the soft pink testes
across the paddock
to his waiting collie.

That’s when I finally broke
and bent to stroke the gelding’s
sedated head, murmuring soft
comfort and betrayal.

-Lo, with a thing for the blue-eyed boys.

Honey

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

icecream
Mood: Stonewalled
Drinking: Diet Dr. Pepper

Honey

Farm girls take pride in slivers and dirt.
In hot blistered palms.
In the ability to run barefoot
down a long gravel drive
without wincing once,
callouses hardened like leather,
borne like beauty marks.

Each summer when the white clover bloomed,
the bobblehead flowers
swarming the backyard with sweetness,
I greeted the season by stripping off shoes,
leaving them lay where they fell
until August.

Neither heat nor humidity
nor mosquitoes could detract
from the sweaty joy of long yellow days
unbroken by school bells
unmarred by the frantic buzz
of city girls applying lip gloss and
passing judgment.

Stings were inevitable.
Honey bees working the clover for
nectar were often surprised by the crush
of my wild naked foot. Whether
offended or frightened, a stinger
was the unanimous solution.
But farm girls take pride in pain.

Feeling the prick, I’d drop to the ground
and pull up a sole for inspection.
With a dull grubby fingernail doubling
as blade, I’d scrape the venom sac free,
just like Dad taught me. Then I’d hunt
for the warrior bee, curled and dying alone
in the grass beneath the clothesline,
too far from her queen for comfort.

Do bees dream of honey when they fade?
I’m still curious. And though I didn’t want
the last thing she saw to be the face
of the enemy, unfelled by the strike
that gutted her, I’d whisper a question
unintelligible to insect ears. “But aren’t you glad
you were never a drone?”

-Lo, who finds it painful to post a poem that needs polishing.

Phenomenon

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

phenomenon
Mood: Waiting
Drinking: Things

Phenomenon

Breath comes in gasps at first
lungs shocked
with the sudden capacity for speed.

Then the rhythm evens out
and begins to keep time
with the beat of my feet.

step step
breathe
step step
breathe

I am doing something astonishing here
a small, perfect miracle
contained within every stride.

Every time my foot hits the ground
a snake
slides back in its hole.
Every time my foot hits the ground
a blackfish
finds its way home.
Every time my foot hits the ground
the concrete
loses its hold
Every time my foot hits the ground

seas part.
walls fall.
mountains move.

And I run on and on.

Lo, working miracles three times a week.

Body Double

Monday, April 21st, 2008

bodydouble
Mood: Cold
Drinking: Diet Dr. Pepper

Body Double

I have sex dreams
about my first-grade boyfriend.

In the dreams, he appears
as neither a first-grader
or my boyfriend,

nor does he bear any resemblance
to his high-school self
that rakish punk
in Vision Streetwear
who laughed and said “Never”
when asked if he’d go out with me,
not knowing
I was passing by the classroom
at that exact moment
and overheard the whole thing.

He doesn’t look like
his current self, either.
There is no tattoo sleeve,
no vermilion mohawk,
no vestige of the sullen man
he has become.

In dreams exist
what could have been
but never was
and shows up now
only to remind me
that waking life is better.

-Lo, taking liberties with adjectives.