Big Iron on my Hip

"I've got knives in my eyes, I'm goin' home sick."

Above illustration by John Kenn. http://johnkenn.blogspot.com/


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I don’t like the way people

move at me.

They reach more often

than they just stand,

snatching pockets of air

or nearby handfuls of whatever.

I wish they’d just stand there

and let me look.

The only good thing a person

can do for another is

nothing at all.

Just hold still.

Fifteen

I’m ashamed of when I was fifteen,

and I’m sorry,

I really am,

for only saying that you were pretty

while espresso machines

wretched and gagged. 

I’m sorry for saying that

and asking for your number,

as though something so inconsequential

was sufficient grounds for interaction.

It’s like being complemented

for a beautiful sunrise,

or the way a tree looks

in autumn.

I should’ve said you had eyes that confused me,

that you were intimidating and that your t-shirt

looked cooler the way you wore it

with the rolled up sleeves.

I should’ve said

that I admired your will to listen

and your ability to smile and nod 

whenever some kid like me

approached to tell you 

that you were pretty.

Or better yet, I just should’ve asked

who you were,

what your name was,

and done away with the unfortunate precedent

of my sex.

I should’ve tried to find out about you,

but I never wanted to know.

I just wanted the swell of achievement,

the affirmed pat on the back,

the warm number crumpling on notebook paper

in my pocket.

I only wanted to know and state that I knew

everything that was immediately apparent.

I no longer feel like I was anything to you

except a decorative ribbon with which 

to tie up the end of an era.

But an era for me

was just beginning.

I run outside even though its hot.

Hubris

Xerxes, with braided leather,

did quirt the back of the sea itself,

his work wrenched clean from its seat.

And I, with fingers jagged,

grip slope and foreland alike,

hoping to work her unyielding skin.

What God

Careful Abraham blocks sunlight

at the door.

Heels first he steps;

he does not stir the wife and child.

Embracing, they heave,

all belonging to him and Him.

What God begged for the knife and stone?

Sleepy Isaac allows a sliver of sight.

Squinting into the dark he sees the figure,

hunched, hands outstretched,

fingers snatching moonlight.

They tighten about his tunic,

tear child from mother.

What God forgot how to form a name?

Lonely Sarah awakens, too late,

her bed long cold without the boy.

If a bird fell at the doorway,

it could be a mystery.

Out of the cold barrel of morning,

no news comes from the mountain.

What God speaks out of the sky,

indifferent as weather?

What God is so fixated

on his distorted creation?

I sleep with my knees to the wall,

afraid of seeing God at the door.

Anonymous said: Really enjoy your writing and poetry. You have anything printed for purchase?

Wow thanks so much. I haven’t entered into the realm of selling anything just yet. I’m still trying to publish my first novel, which I completed sometime last year. Is there a poem in particular that stood out to you?

Anonymous said: Did you make that attic picture on your homepage??

No I didn’t! It’s by artist John Kenn. Here’s a link to his website. I’ll be sure to put it in my info as well. http://johnkenn.blogspot.com/

Almost Spring Break

I’m tired. I woke up this morning feeling so damn tired. Guilty at all for no reason, because things are strange. I rose and slogged to work, still blinking out rheum, trying desperately to crack my neck. I think I want to be peaceful. I think I want to be kind. I want to know what it’s like to care for people; I want to take care of people. I’m protective, I think.

I had a dream that Jonas and I were in a wigwam. We were lying on bearskins, our eyes up, looking at the circular punctuation of night through the hole at the top of the tent. We talked about anger. Jonas was spitting into a harmonica occasionally, badly, and I was smoking. And our friend Leah was there, and she was drawing pigs, and so was Annika, who was picking the ends of her hair, her mouth assuming that ambiguous curve between smile and frown that she makes so often, elsewhere.

Then we all talked about how our fathers weren’t perfect, how our mothers made us sad, and how much better things looked behind us. I want my friends so badly again. I want to wake up beside the person I love, write a book, and play videogames. I want to be nameless, invisible, and free. I want to be an idea so I don’t always have to try and overcome each iteration of my self; I’d rather be wielded.

We’re all like clockwork that used to fit. I can’t turn time on my own. So I’m just counting now. Counting my footsteps, the pages I have to read, and the pages I have yet to write. Most of all, I’m counting down time in order to kill it, as though focus might yield the opposite. I’m counting down the time between now and when I get to see these people again.

I guess it’s all numbers. And I’m just rummaging in math, hoping I’ll learn how to make things fit.

First Love

I’ve seen your veins twist,

furcating up your neck,

and you, stricken,

stay locked up in eyes of gray.

I’ve made love to the devil caught in your throat.

I’ve listened to you chatter and gurgle

as your mind plunges into the great immense,

usually overwhelmed at all that wasn’t.

And there’s me,

holding a mirror to your naked body,

asking you to find what’s wrong.

You couldn’t.

But then again,

your hands wouldn’t be so soft

if they could aptly handle your self-esteem.

In Circles

Morning star came in at my lips

but fell down my throat,

changing its name

somewhere near my groin.

I’m clapping at my limbs

hoping for feeling,

chasing rope-dangled flesh

that only prolongs the folded night.

I think I’ll shoot my own leg,

and see if I bleed,

or if the Old Testament itself pours out.

That way,

gunshot, holy, and filthy,

I’ll know I’m a part of it all,

and not just some ugly pariah

with two left feet.