Atrophy

“…Any thoughts of hurting yourself or others?”

 

I can barely hear over the smell of decay

(sweet candied cadavers) buried under my skin;

the indecision.

 

I’ve forgotten what catharsis tastes like.

These bottled emotions are vintage,

lavender, licorice, leather.

 

I chew my cheek, swallow tongue, spit out pleasantries.

My nails carve canyons into my palms

while the doctor picks at scabs.

 

You can’t feel sad forever; we’re not built to sustain it—

but the banality of a listless life might be worse.

A dull knife.

 

My apathy is an accomplice to apathy;

to atrophy,

 

sticky, sappy molasses

clogging my arteries with idle thoughts.

 

I want to scream and scream and scream and laugh—

we’re both waiting for the answer—

 

“…Uh, no. No, it’s not that bad.”

freckles

i want to tell you that i think god

encrypted the stars onto your nose

in freckles

 

i want to trace your constellations

but my fingers tremble to touch you

 

 i want to dedicate cathedrals

and erect shrines in all the places your feet have walked  

or maybe plant flowers,

instead

when i die

i'm prepared to testify 

against myself 

 

The Waiting Room

A bedroom:

Loud ochre walls,

upon which shadows flicker violently with the dying embers

of a fire, and vanilla soy candles,

across the sharp planes of a woman’s unlined face:

sallow cheeks lightly dusted with rouge and

eyelashes heavily inked;

a subtle pout about her over-lined lips.

Glassy green eyes, that roam aimlessly and rest just above

a television crackling static noise that

clashes with the hum of the radiator near the bed;

the phone on the nightstand is silent.

The bed, draped in satin sheets and bear fur that still smells like

pine needles, ocean breeze, apple cinnamon,

all pure beeswax—

The warm ochre neutralized with the coming of twilight,

fades to black with the dusk

            of sun and fireplace;

            a hungry mosquito flies in from the open window, curtains blowing,

and crawls toward its prey.

The only things now illuminated in the darkness:

            curly auburn hair, six glasses emptied of red wine, a silent phone, two wedding rings:

            one on her finger, one on the nightstand.

The heat shuts off with a click, the TV screen goes black, outside

            tires cease to turn, passing voices fade into their own houses;

            only crickets fill her ears.

A sudden sigh, she snuffs the candles and kisses the pillow; curtains blowing, a sudden chill

as the mosquito inches forward once more, and stabs, sucks—

an audible gasp—belly full, it alights the windowsill, then exits

The waiting room. 

She, I (Cut-Up poem)

Monsters who fly, 
Hell:
they learned to fall.

Spreads mad, spreads thin cover on with copper.
Well-bred, born with curls,
love can’t collect in her breath.

Let men wonder if I, too, like tongue.
Chase legs.
We’re folded pretty in dust, 
while hands wish us to trap with pretty faces.

Are Frankensteins forgotten?
The vomit—we help ourselves.
Barbarous in velvet and sour humility,
and teach whorish angel—

She sits, but to God
her wings are Venus shelves.
She never yet stands neatly;
her bra’s honest. 

Mad girls, men, and satin lap. 
Any civility from us?
Us who weren’t like her.

She, I. 

Brain Food

A host of bluebirds coax the pale sun out

of bed, with shrill songs of desperation. 

I close the blinds and pour my beggar’s feast

of sour milk and soggy cereal.

I fix a second bowl and wait while my

bland breakfast rapidly disintegrates.

 

Meanwhile, a hunger of a different kind

is gnawing at my bones and clogging up

my arteries, and grinding at my teeth. 

 

 My thoughts are slowly slipping straight into

obscurity—need brain food for brain fog—

and words that once rained down to give me life

now fall into the gutter, down the drain.

 

This sadness is contractual, I signed

my right to smile off to prescription drugs:

first Lexapro, then Zoloft and Xanax.

 

I am a cannibal, brain food, brain fog;

I stir my thoughts and feelings into mush.

 

The doorbell rings; in comes my routine friend

to eat what’s left of my sobriety.

We laugh; I entertain thoughts of death like

the gracious host I am. I invited

the insecurities and fed them well.

Tears

Three opalescent

raindrops run down her pale cheek,

one for each sorrow.