Photo By: Alicia Ahumada Salaiz
Prompt: secret shame or pleasure
GloPoWriMo Day 1
The cold tile, at night, when everyone else has settled into beds,
makes sounds under my feet no matter how quietly I tread.
I know where they’ve dropped their crumbs and spilled their sauce.
Oil seeps into the cardboard of pizza boxes.
Before their snores their voices raise to scold and I retreat.
But the foods and the smells remain, irresistible,
and honestly there is no bone of shame in me
alone I lick and I lick and I lick
know at last intimately every footstep and misstep
I lick every crumb, I lick every spill, I lick every drop
I lick and I lick until beneath pizza and banana and pop
I taste tile and exhaustion and crawl back under the covers
undiscovered, this time, satisfied.
A winding of wire twilit dun
in the even of rustling grasses
halts eyelid closing and softens
the fall of night. Dun turns to
gold. The fences fade to naught
when night settles in.
Based on a randomly selected picture from Vanishing Breed, a photographic memoir on cowboy culture I found at Friends of the Library, which copyright prohibits me from reposting.
Sit Down, Shut Up
These voices are too loud, less in volume
than their incessant surety. They speak
with the perverse authority sanctioned
by a life I cannot comprehend. See,
their pain, no less valid, is much louder
than the less-told stories could hope to be.
Were they born to the pulpit? Do they know
through privilege-glasses what we cannot?
No one ever told them to sit down, shut up
and take notes. People listen when they speak, or shit,
but now’s not their turn.
This is an attempt at a curtal sonnet, but I was very lazy about the meter, so it is what it is. I don’t know how well this subject matter is going to come across, if at all, but I feel pretty strongly about people attempting to speak for minorities and had to say a thing today.
Don’t Write Poems for Me
I could love a boy with scars.
I could kiss the foreheads of ash-skinned demons,
caress the raised tissue of too many deaths,
and yes, I could
love a boy with scars.
I could love a boy for his poems.
I could make love to a boy with words
alone, or allow my hand to find his
sure as ink to paper, and yes—
oh how could I not love a boy for his poems?
I could love a boy who isn’t mine,
and I could love a boy as only friends
and I could find new definitions for us
but I cannot straddle this chasm
alone, not now that I know.
I could love a boy with scars. I could
love a boy for his poems. I could love a boy
who isn’t mine. (I could keep my hands
to myself). I cannot put my love,
this birth-blind puppy, back in the box
now that I know he wants to kiss me.
He has beautiful hands, this mason.
Dirt and clay cake around his nails.
A white sickle scar, and a handful
of freckles adorn his fingers.
The mason lays one brick at a time,
from the first row at my feet:
each individual constellation
in shades of red and earth.
The mortar he spreads on
even, and careful. His hands
are thick, and strong, their rivers
highlighted the pallor of mortar.
I catch one last glimpse of him,
serene face and careful posture
as he evens a stroke with flourish
and places the final brick to seal me in.
A Prophesy of RelationsUp at the sermon tucked into birth of day,
light silhouettes you as the crow against vows.
Mine-own, the crow’s name is your name.
Yoke me voiceless as the ravishment of saints.
Mine-own, hang me with my cords
lavished under the linden, held in pity.
You cut into the summer’s set,
rhubarb, boxed in a hotel.
Mine-own, the hurt of a marble ton
pressing down called us
into tilted vats’ reflections unvigilant.
(Oh you, you more than
the scent of summer’s death)
So for our lemon talks we stroll among
You can take this error into the forest,
in bed of sorrel,
put to rest in cuts to my hide.
You can take this error,
a pillaged canvas,
to hang the sun.
NaPoWriMo Day 23, 23 April 2014
Prompt: “translate” a poem by reinterpreting the sounds of the words. I highly recommend the poem I abused for this, Sink Your Fingers Into the Darkness of My Fur, a beautiful Finish poem read by a man with a beautiful voice, which, when I allowed myself to read the true translation afterwards, really moved me.
Where the Wild Things Grow
Into the woods where the wild things grow
trees and vines form mystical patterns.
The feet can carry you far from home
and the mind is always free to roam.
The sunlight plays on spider webs,
their precise organization exposed.
Through bramble and blackberry tramp alone
so the mind is free to wander.
Where the fences rise and the signs say turn back,
No Trespassing, sit your rump on a stump
and watch the lark flit through tricks.
The mind is always free to roam.
If a Poet Were a SpiderI live in my artform
catch food with this verse
and need nothing more.
Life is a nearly-new sofa with cat scratches
left on the curb. Well, some days.
I hardly know what I mean but
if it sounds good, must be true.
Do you remember when we found
that beautiful dresser a block form your house?
Of course you do. You carried the too-big body
and I drove the drawers and your boyfriend
talked to me from the back seat in tones I find
forgettable. No, I remember: He was afraid
of the mirror. You love mirrors.
I love mirrors and am afraid of them.
Is it just this town that throws away everything
for a few of us to retrieve treasures
from curbs and dumpsters, or
is it everyone?
Yaz, this is my third love poem to you,
and if none of them seem like love poems
that’s because the two of us prefer impossible
crushes, treat our hearts like printing presses
(me more than you) and you’re a wandering landmark.
Maybe my fourth, actually. The darkness
challenges the sunlight for shade
and makes us a breathing space.
Do you know, I’ve had maybe three
significant relationships with men. Or boys.
Whichever. Romantic, that is. I fuck or befriend
the rest, or turn them into poems. Well, it’s curious to me
because we’re both a little boy-crazy these days,
some days, and I wonder if that’s my why.
In the plaza we’ll hold hands. Did we both use to sing
oftener? We sometimes look normative, more
than I ever expected, me opening the door,
taking your hand, but everyone sees past it.
We’re the queerest fish of all the courts,
strolling past the statue of the Confederate Dead.
I’m leaning over the counter, beside the baked goods,
for a peck on the lips.
I cried over my fear of leaving you
when I though I was engaged. Long story.
You know it all, but I don’t know
jack from bull. Did the sun set on my siesta?
Have we been sleeping through potential meetings?
Sometimes I see the pictures of pastimes before
I hear your stories, and I imagine the sound of the wood falling
to your blade.
Did you hear me missing you
while nighttime rolled cigarettes out of fossils?
Can we find a phrase to use oftener
than “I miss you”? Does missing
taste like raspberries, ghosts,
or limes, better made into
margaritas? My mom and my best friend
like you, imagine that, so we’re feathered burglars but
I haven’t seen you in a week
and before that I saw my partner in poetic crime,
my friend and best critic, all
rolled into you but I’d like to
fall into you like bubble bath
and it’s been some streaks of
finger-painted oil masterworks of dusk
and midnight since last
I’ve seen my lover.
Prompt: the name of a sea shell.
The rats have been nibbling
at the moon again. Their bites
seem to be expanding. Their little
distended bellies, under a layer
of fine pale fur, feel nothing but hunger.
The rats have been biting through
the moon’s bones. They blend in,
white as asteroid face, only pink tails
and red gleams of eyes. Bone dust
coats their lungs.
The rats have gnawed through the moon, for
the first time, and the will have a long way to fall.
The rats teethed on the moon, fine-dined
on the moon, and the moon will drink
their broken bones and patch wounds with rat pelts.