locket

yes, I can feel you bleeding inside me
it’s when I slip on the third step going upstairs with another basket of laundry, or forget to glance up at another traffic light

go. go. GO.

would I your back turned toward me, or the sun
gone, or holding onto your same shell game

dare I, my monstrous insides shunning gaping rotting slashing away
reveal me,
dare I love in the romance of Victorian novel, Tolstoy and Beckett. Shakespeare for hideous mortals.

when one of us last breathes, the infant to the toad, an infantile cry, pissing in shallow waters, oceans deep,
the world will feel our reunion. in due time,
glittering in the dark

love, I suppose,
it’s real enough for the both of us

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How memories work

I felt him in a tampon ad. Seventeen, it was. A shade of purple velvet. I stared out over a dying sunset, with this hiker.

A carnival in the middle of New Jersey. I don’t even remember her name. But she had the cats, one scratched me.

An ABBA song on the way to my grandparents’ house in Bridgeport. I pretended he loved me in the lyrics.

That time I caught a pop fly in left field. Him, leaning against his bike. Stuck between the pages of a Stephen King novel, decades later.

The sound a basketball makes on a driveway across the street in Halawa Heights.

The way a random radio personality says, “Tomorrow,” “So long.”

Nobody says that anymore.

the wild inside

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I’m channeling her, not me. Photo by Álvaro Serrano on Unsplash

none of the words I write are my own, it seems
inner songs from the dying souls outside my door for such a shut-in
come in, come in, I will cover you in glorious, loving terms,
“glitter in the dark” can mean so many things to so many people, to me, him
standing three feet away pointing at the moon to keep from crying over his wife’s spilled
spoiled embarrassment of riches milk (he would break his bones trying to keep her), Beth Whitney between Edmonds and Tumwater, nice to meet you,
birthed in a different cabin in the woods,
“The Wild Unrest,” her music drops rain petals on my already sunken skin, rich with the familiar memory of the dead and the dreaming
moments before our words converged in all this madness
let her speak to me, let me mirror her paraphrases, feel that “cold on my face” in the room we shared at different times, her grandmother’s kind face, an unlikely salvation, my empty spartan longing for a family I never had, saving myself one phone call at a time

we are words together,
tomorrow you will see
open open open up open open open me

power play

the power went out. we talk now in 140 characters. I can’t tell if he’s sad or lonely. the things outcasts hold back would make you weep

long ago, a boy with winter eyes brushed my right cheek that summer. in the woods, one last butterfly kiss before he would die 20 years later, leaving the residual family you read about in the obituaries. beer, Sunday School, and country.

I took a punch to the face 20 times for that one. father gave no mercy to the daughter he saw as a surrogate. just a kiss daddy just a kiss please stop

Bobby was a dream,
William, my home. until he told me they wanted to fuck and did I know what “gay” means. did I once wake up in another father’s living room in the middle of their grotesque idea of hostage exchange?

this is love to me. incremental doses of storyline twists, the final act in a perverse play where I am not the writer. sick sick love.

Stephen King’s “Joyland”

sieve memory sieve, back on a blank page with my futile good girl intentions

they rape only the beautiful ones with teeny tiny waists, big, silicone breasts, and an eye for Donna Karan, I know because I am not

starry eyed models line up single file, Malibu Barbie and Ken dolls in whatever fashion whores the Maker

I am gone, acceptance speech, erased

I hate the make-up, the foul stench of Nair and Net, your bleeding vaginal yeast a patent on clones, bondage foreign snuff films from my mother or our babysitter, one and the same

on the last page, I cry for a boy who doesn’t exist

I watch them watch his kite sail in the air above “a sunny day in April of 1974,” when my fiction first began. It was beautiful and poignant and so very Hollywood, movie-ready after the money men and their hired guns put the finishing touches on the happy ending with a liberal slant. Their media masks back in place.

Everything is a lie.

 

Bad Attitude

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Photo by Nick Hillier on Unsplash

this one bites, that one barks at the moon, is that a leopard?

eenie meenie miney mo, the one-hit wonder sounds the same as the legend

he still looks stupid bouncing behind his guitar

I hate everyone now you will see I am a better actress than the one you fell in love with rubbing her out with every affirmation in 140 words or less

no you can’t read the plot of my demise your discomfiture by spotlight, it is Marc Anthony, not the celebrity death du jour tomato soup for lemonade you will never see me coming they almost took my life my family my my my must be careful with mental fiction

as the sun peaks over the horizon somewhere far away Brisbane Aiea Tampa why not I wear your hand-me-downs, use the gifts you hand-picked for yourselves with my name scratched over the recycled tag, as thoughtless and ignorant as the day I checked my bags

leaving security for a panting, sweaty five inches of pulp fiction

some for simply breathing, eating with a fork not a spoon, the common way he said a word, how she always brought the conversation — we haven’t seen each other in months — back to herself, their Silpada excuses for fellowship

oh, that bright November morning when Mr. High Horse showed (off) his godless porn, hijacking Matthew for Catechism when none of us really wanted to suck dick, it’s a numbers game, and our number was up

close doors, close chapters, close my accounts, I will soon be left with nothing but the shit on my back, and the memories I managed to keep during my garbage dumps

I’m sick of Marc Anthony now, but you didn’t know that, did you?

checking out with five books, no date

American Girl

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

The girl who raced horses in Big Sky Montana sits absolutely still, save for her shaking doll hands. Stuck behind the smoking wreck of her well-intentioned life, thoughts and memories merge into the grey dusk of this popular town. A lone bee doesn’t know summer’s over.

The Northwest rain is unforgiving. Fat, cold drops keep her from thinking straight. Her 360 finished the job. She wishes she could go home again.

Leave it.

Tom Petty’s hard-fought radio hit leaves a strange yearning sensation as shoppers slip and slide to their parking spaces from a nearby mall.

She wishes she could fly fly away before these strangers see her cry.

There is no one left to trust.

There is no one left to save her.

 

99.5% won’t be able to do it

They showed me the distance from my stand to my soul. I asked, Would I miss very much? The equivalent of the pain index.

It’s your soul, child. You’ve been distant for too long. Would it be so wrong to come back?

I grow attached. It’s been too long here, here where I am no longer fixing breakfast for your families but waiting for them to turn out the light. Each star dims, I count the ones that lead the way toward a familiar bridge, a bridge I’d almost forgotten.

My soul, I’m coming home soon.

dream, Oct. 1, 2017

Le Pichet

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Photo by Peter Miranda on Unsplash

His world is meat and potatoes, hold the beans

I held his coagulated blood in the palm of my hand one fretful night between the cancer and the next colonoscopy. The red liver tissue jiggled like Jell-O.

I am here, always, waiting for you, cafe au lait beside my notes and my rusty pen. I know the difference.

You will smell my hair before sliding into the seat, pulling mine closer, an embarrassing display — one I have hungered for, given my American diet. You always sip thoughtfully, tearing dainty bites of one croissant, lightly scorched at the edges, fingering my arm. Every morning, the same petit déjeuner while I run to catch up.

I miss this world, a world away. And, neither of us are French. We gypsy in and out of focus when the cause suits us.

I wonder where you are this very moment, stuck in line at the nearest McDonald’s, because she says so, stuck in a book, while the children gather around the manufactured extra-large stuffed crust.

We celebrated a birthday, my love. I thought of you when the sommelier passed by, on to another table, while watching these familiar strangers gorge on flesh, adulterated Yukon Golds.

lentils, parsnips, little plates of octopus, this crepe I turn away for hamburger until the day I bury this life beneath ten thousand

Your kisses taste of wild strawberries.

there

this man, he went to the Big Island without me

not a word

not one word

those months chasing my attention, pretending to be interested in the same things… Spam musubi, Korean soap operas, sunsets on the beach

until my check was in the mail

this woman went off to Maui with a chosen four, the Fab Five, they called it

I used to beg her to go with me, I would’ve paid for everything just to see her smile at Molokini

now, I watch them tell their tales on this computer screen, posts and pictures, the same fucking drivel everyone else taps into

I wish I were there